Writing Great Follow-up Letters

Oftentimes, it’s the little details that matter most … especially when it comes to a job hunt. That’s where a well-crafted follow-up letter comes into play. You’re searching for that health care career of your dreams, you feel like your résumé and cover letter are stellar, and you’ve just knocked an interview out of the park. You’re just sure you’re a shoe-in for the position, but … .

What’s your next step?

A well-written follow-up letter, showing your heartfelt appreciation at the opportunity to interview, can go a long way and, sometimes, tip the scales if the competition for a position is close.

With that in mind, we at Concorde sought an expert’s opinion on some of the finer points and got answers to some popular questions regarding what constitutes a well-crafted follow-up letter. Here is what Reina Resnik, Senior Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde’s campus in Miramar, Fla., had to say on the subject.

What is the purpose of a follow-up letter? Does it have to be handwritten, or is an email OK to send now?

In the fast-paced, tech-savvy world of today, a follow-up letter generally takes the form of a follow-up email. The follow-up email’s purpose is to keep a job candidate in a prospective employer’s mind and to show continued interest in the employer’s open health care career position and place of employment. The follow-up email is an opportunity for a candidate to show he or she is conscientious, as well as serious and excited about the open position and place of employment.

When should I send it? What should I include in my letter?

A follow-up email is generally appropriate … ideally the same afternoon or evening after the interview or the following day. The email should thank the interviewer for taking time from his or her busy schedule to discuss the open health care career position. It is also helpful for the email to very briefly describe how the candidate’s skill set matches the needs of the open position and employer. It also should contain a signature block with the candidate’s full name, as well as an email address or phone number at which the candidate is comfortable communicating with the prospective employer.

Follow-up emails also might be relevant at various points in the job-seeking process, depending on the specific situation. For example, if a health care career candidate is not currently looking for a job but met someone who might be a valuable professional contact in the future, it might not hurt to send a quick “nice to have met you” email. Another example: If a significant amount of time has elapsed since the candidate’s job interview without the candidate hearing anything back, the candidate might follow up a second time to inquire as to the status of his or her application.

Have you ever heard of an experience where a follow-up letter put a student over the top in terms of getting the job?

Yes! Sending a follow-up letter, especially if other equally-qualified candidates for the health care career position fail to do so, might help a candidate stand out from the pack and land the job.

Anything else on the topic?

A candidate should take care to check grammar, punctuation and tone before hitting “send” on a follow-up email or any written communication with a potential employer in order to make the most professional impression.

“Also, please remember that this represents general advice and is not tailored to any particular job-seeking situation,” Resnik said. “Candidates should always feel free to reach out to their campus services office if they’d like to discuss a specific job opportunity.”

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