This advice applies to any situation where you might want to contact an employer after sending an application, and it’s of particular interest to Stride (formerly JobLab) candidates who have been introduced to potential employers via e-mail.
Lots of you have written in asking for advice on this one because once the introduction has been made it can sometimes be difficult making the first move. First impressions count – what should you say?
At Stride, an employer will request contact if they like your profile and want to learn more. We’ll give you the opportunity to introduce yourself to the employer directly via Stride in-app messaging. From there you can take matters into your own hands and contact the employer directly. You could use the airtime to learn more about the position, request a phone call to ask more specific questions and give them a little teaser as to what they could expect from you, their future hire.
We understand that this can be a little daunting, but employers really like it when the candidate makes the first move. It makes them feel special, wanted even. In grabbing the bull by the horns you’ll be proving various soft skills, instantly; from proactivity to communication. Here’s how to sweep them off their feet, every time.
We’re not going to beat around the bush here. This is a basic structure – feel free to get jazzy with it but remember, keep it short.
- - Greeting (hello, good morning, good afternoon, dear X) (Remember to check name spellings!)
- - Thank them for their interest in your profile
- - Express an interest in their company (do your research) and that you’d like to learn more
- - Tell them what you’d bring to the table
- - Sign off (best wishes, kind regards, yours sincerely)
- - Check spelling!
This is your first stumbling block. You’ve got a few lines to let the company know you’re interested in them, demonstrate that you’re interested, and get them interested in you.
Research makes the world go round. Before you put fingertip to keyboard, check out the vacancy (for a second time, of course) and get to Googling that company name. Everything you need to talk about is stored somewhere on the internet, it’s down to you to find it and pull out the key pieces of information.
Express an interest in their company; talk about their company history, what their work means to the industry, how you have found a particular element of their product cool.
Follow that up with some information that reiterates your suitability for the role. Through Stride, employers hand pick you based on your skills and interests, so they already know a bit about you. Still, there’s no harm in taking this opportunity to remind them what a great candidate you are.
For example, if they’re a particularly ambitious, fast-paced startup you can talk about how you’re ready for a challenge and you’d like to take an active role in growing a young company.
Secret top-tip: employers have told us that candidates mostly talk about what they would like to get from a role. Be the candidate who lets employers know what value they add; what you can bring to the table, e.g.;
“I understand you’re a team of crime-fighting superheroes looking for a PA. Additionally, to my administrative skills, I’m qualified in First Aid which I feel might be useful. Would love to talk more.”
Tone of Voice
As with all other things job hunting, making the first move is all about being friendly, being yourself and letting that special someone know you care.
Find a balance between formal and informal. Abbreviations are okay, employers are human too – but perhaps avoid words that might make you sound flippant (such as “Hey” or “lol”).
Of course, this is partly informed by the sector you’re hoping to join. Some companies will have a more relaxed workplace culture than others so try to gauge what’s appropriate as you work your way through the company literature.
Keep it short. This is just about saying hello, and piquing their interest in you as a candidate.
You should be able to get the body of your message across in three or four sentences. Stick to the structure if you’re unsure.
Call to Action
This is a marketing term. A call to action is an incentive to act, and they can be useful when communicating with employers.
A useful call to action might be to suggest a telephone call to discuss further questions. This lets them know you want to learn more about the role and gives them an opportunity to get a better sense of you prior to the interview.
Here’s a video I found. It’s slow-paced, but she has some good advice on tapping into that hidden job market.
These are tips you can take straight to the bank and are pretty useful in any situation where you’d like to open up a professional dialogue. If you have any other questions about Stride (formerly JobLab) or you’d like some more specific tips, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're happy to help.