A few years back, Alexandra Franzen had a problem: She was going after a copywriting gig but didn’t have a ton of related experience. After an interview, the firm’s director said that they “liked her spirit,” but they couldn’t hire someone with so few samples.
Feeling job-dumped, she was deflated. Then a light bulb when off.
“They wanted samples,” the Daily Muse writer said to herself. “I’d show ’em samples.”
But it’d be more than a mere sample: She’d send them pub-ready content for their soon to re-launch site. In so doing, she’d model the mantra of getting gigs gotten. Whether your quarry is Google, Amazon, or a raise, there are two parts:
- show how well you can do the work
- show why the company needs your work
The psychology underlying this practice of unstoppability: By showing what you’re capable of and why the organization needs it in their life, you reduce the cognitive load of whether-or-nots for the hiring manager.
In other words, we can make ourselves obvious hires.
The follow-up is part of that practice, as Franzen evidences. She did so by writing a concise, signal-filled email to the agency director, thanking her for her time and adding an ever-so-subtle addendum:
“Here are 10 tagline options to consider as you revamp your brand. No charge. Enjoy!”
The director’s reply:
“These taglines are better than anything we’ve come up with on our own. Thank you. Let’s set up a meeting so you can get started on writing the rest of our site content.”
So the prescriptive key to the follow-up email is actually two things, as per Franzen’s example:
- Keep the follow-up concise
- Include a burst of organization-needed helpfulness
This is the sort of insight that informs just about any sort of communication, including, daresayit, writing for the web: We want our messages to be as easy to take in as possible and have surprising amounts of helpfulness. In other, shorter words, they should have the minimum transaction cost for the reader and the maximum utility. And like Franzen, we can become obvious hires.