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I recently completed my bachelor and in a few days I am going to start my master degree. I received an email from a company saying they were interested in my profile, but it is clear that they are just sending those to a bunch of recently graduated people.

At the moment I have no interest in working there as I am focusing on my academic career (and to be honest I don't envision myself working for them in the future) but nonetheless, do you think I should send a short reply (thanking them for their interest and such) or would that be a total waste of time?

  • I'm tempted to retitle this to specify that you're a recent graduate (even if you're continuing your education) as I feel that it might change the dynamics of the question somewhat. – Lilienthal Sep 7 '15 at 15:31
  • @Lilienthal Done! The title now is kind of funny but it's not bad :-) – Ant Sep 7 '15 at 15:43
  • Given that the current answers (including my own) can be applied generally I'm going to revert that retitle. Answers can highlight the differences (such as that graduates tend to get more of these mails and responding to express future interest isn't always as useful as most companies are looking to hire entry-level people here) but your question is useful enough to open it up. Note that I've also removed some of the fluff as we prefer clean questions. – Lilienthal Sep 7 '15 at 16:13
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I work to fairly simple rules with recruiters mailings:

  • Bulk and not relevant - ignore
  • Bulk and relevant - respond if interested, otherwise ignore
  • Targeted and not relevant - respond if I think I may want to work with recruiter in future, even if only to say "this isn't for me, but I might be interested in something like...", otherwise ignore
  • Targeted and relevant - respond (well d'uh)

When I say relevant, I mean what I'm looking for at the time, if I'm not on the market it's not relevant.

These people have a hide like a rhino, if you don't respond they won't take it personally, so don't sweat it.

  • Good set of rules, although if something is targeted and is not relevant but is polite, I always reply with a quick, polite response saying "thanks for letting me know about this opportunity but I'm not interested". Only takes 30 seconds. – Carson63000 Sep 8 '15 at 5:57
  • You'd be surprised how many spam recruiters there are out there. – insidesin Sep 8 '15 at 15:16
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In general recruiters or companies sending non-personalised recruitment mails don't expect you to respond unless you're interested in the position they're hiring for. They will usually welcome a reply from you if you express interest in being notified of future positions as most companies keep potentially useful resumes on file.

If you don't see yourself ever applying to the company or the position they're hiring for is wildly outside your interests or expertise, just ignore it. No one at that company will remember you a week from now if you're just replying to decline. You won't lose anything more than a few minutes of your time if you reply but there's nothing to gain either.

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As with any bulk email, the HR department understands that a number of messages will not be returned, whether by inboxes that aren't checked/don't exist, or entering the spam box, or otherwise. If the email is truly a bulk email, it should be safe to ignore.

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do you think I should send a short reply (thanking them for their interest and such) or would that be a total waste of time?

It's most likely a (minor) waste of your time.

Bulk emails to new graduates almost certainly won't amount to anything down the road. You name would quickly be dropped once you indicate that you aren't looking for a job now, due to your masters degree plans.

It wouldn't hurt anything to be polite. The thanks might reach someone who would remember you favorably at some point in the future. That's unlikely but you never know.

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