We know that as students and recent graduates it can be super-intimidating to send out emails to important people. Whether you’re sending a cover letter, resume, thank you, request for mentoring or a simple hello, check out these tips to ensure you get your point across professionally and ensure a speedy response.
Write Shorter Emails
Shorter emails increase your response rate for one reason: it is easy to write a short reply to a short email.
While many people you email want to send a short answer, they often feel that a quick, one sentence response will come across as terse and unfriendly. The result is that they simply put the email off until they have more time to write a longer response — which is usually never.
Short emails remove this fear because it is appropriate to reply immediately with a brief response.
Reduce the Opportunity for Procrastination
When long or unclear emails enter someone’s inbox they get placed in the to-do pile because they take time to figure out and respond to. Sadly, the to-do pile usually ends up being the never-do pile.
However, when a short, one question email comes in, it gets a response much faster. Make it hard for the reader to procrastinate sending you a reply.
Always Have a Purpose
If you want a response, then your email should have a clear purpose. This applies in all situations, but it’s especially helpful when reaching out to someone for the first time.
Important people are busy and they value their time, so you should always have a clear purpose for the meeting. Not only does having an event or goal help drive the conversation, it also makes the meeting feel more productive. Both parties feel a small sense of accomplishment for completing the task that was laid out at the beginning.
Do the Work for Them
When you send an unclear email, you’re essentially saying to the recipient, “It’s not important enough for me to figure out what the main idea of this email is, so I’m going to make you do it for me.”
The main question or offer should be stated clearly and early within your email. If it’s not within the first few sentences, then start over.
Don’t Take “No” Personally
Everyone is busy. For most people, it’s simply a matter of timing. If you catch them on a good day, then they will happily respond to you.If they’re swamped, however, then a simple “No” might be all that you get.
Don’t take it to heart. In most cases, it’s not a reflection of what you said.
Make It a Point to Follow Up
What if they don’t respond to your email? Wait a few days and then follow up. You don’t want to pester anyone, but if you give them some time and don’t get a response, then there is nothing wrong with being persistent.
I usually wait anywhere from 3 days to a week before reaching out again. (The more busy the person is, the longer I wait.)