How do I communicate employment enthusiasm without alienating anyone?
July 23, 2010 12:55 PM   Subscribe

How do I explain a belated e-mail in a professional context? And how does one write a letter of inquiry to someone who already has the job? Bean-plate overthinking inside.

Two months ago, I got in touch with an employer who has a job I really want. This job starts in November (interviews haven't started yet), is pretty far out of my field, but is also really interesting and something I care a lot about; additionally, it's a position where experience is not a hard and fast requirement. Being aware of my relative lack of knowledge, I asked the employer if there were any qualifications I could work on developing in the intevening months that could make me a stronger candidate. They suggested I get in touch with the person who currently holds the job, and said they cc'd him on the e-mail. Thing is, they either used bcc or didn't cc him, so I didn't have his e-mail address, and I've never heard back from him.

I've since done a little scouting and got his e-mail address, and I do want to talk to him more about qualifications for the position. Should I address the two-month gap in the correspondence chain when I e-mail him? Additionally, in an e-mail of this type should I be asking "are you open to talking to me" and setting up a phone call, or should I just launch into the questions? Super extra bonus points for any suggestions anyone has to help me convey my enthusiasm and committment without harassing these potential employers. Thanks!

Anonymous because my real name is linked to my Metaname, and I don't want to confuse things with my current employer. Throwaway e-mail address is
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just open the email, "Recently, I interviewed for a position in your company. During the interview, I asked the manager about how to best increase my chances to have the qualifications for this job. He suggested I contact you to see if you had any suggestions on how best to do this. I really would appreciate any advice you could give."

In other words, don't dwell on the time gap. He won't care.
posted by inturnaround at 1:31 PM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]

I'd just be nonchalant--"Dear XYZ--A little while ago I asked [relevant person] about the qualifications necessary for your position, and s/he suggested in the email below that I get in touch with you. I only recently realized that s/he seems to have neglected to copy you on that email, and so I'm reaching out to you now to ask if I could arrange a time at your convenience to talk about the job, your background, and what I might be able to do to make myself an attractive candidate. [Maybe something about your background here.] I'd happily meet you in person or, if you prefer, set up a time when we can talk over the telephone. Many thanks in advance for your time. Hugs and kisses [possibly go with "Sincerely"], Anonymous."

I don't think you need to make a big thing about the 2 months, particularly if the person was omitted from the email, though you might want to have a light and cheerful explanation of why you weren't more proactive in the first instance--you're finishing your manuscript, getting your diploma, curing cancer, adopting homeless kittens, etc.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:40 PM on July 23, 2010

I would advise against mentioning anything about the employer neglecting to copy the person on the email. You don't need to play the blame game here, it just makes you look defensive. I would go for an email pretty much exactly like inturnaround suggests.
posted by peacheater at 1:45 PM on July 23, 2010

posted by herbplarfegan at 8:07 PM on July 23, 2010

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