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A summary of the situation: I did my master thesis at company A and I got my degree in April. Even before I got my degree, company A asked me to have a 6 months working experience and I accepted. Now I am at the end of this working experience and company A already told me there is no possibility to be employed due to lack of funds, therefore I started looking for a new job.

One year ago, before I got my MSc degree, the CTO of company B informally told me to contact him after the degree to see if there was the possibility to work for his company. I never contacted him since I had already accepted the other offer, so now I would like to know if it is a good idea to contact him to remind him of the offer he made me one year ago since he might not even remember he made it If yes, how should I introduce the topic?

  • The answer is definitely yes. I had a problem where I accepted a job offer and the same day another company offered an interview but I politely declined because they had been a little slow and I needed a job the hirer messaged back understanding and if I wanted an interview in the future to drop her an email. After 8 months at the company I was at I felt it wasn't going anywhere for me so I messaged the other company, interviewed and ended up working for them. – Peter Fox Dec 20 '15 at 1:00
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I am not a CTO, but as a professor I am often approached at conferences and elsewhere by people at earlier stages of their career who are interested in career opportunities and start a conversation with me assuming that I remember them because we met somewhere a year or two before. It is an embarrassing truth that that is not always the case; try as I might, I simply meet too many people in too many places to be able to immediately recognize each and every person without any contextual cues. However, if I am reminded of who they are I usually have no trouble remembering. (I should add that when I was myself more junior I probably made the exact same mistake many times!)

I therefore recommend that in your email you make no assumptions as to whether or how easily the CTO will remember your conversation, and start your email by reminding him/her of it in highly specific detail. For example:

Dear Mr. [or Ms or Dr. as appropriate] CTO,

My name is Johnny Programmer. We met in October 2014 at the Whatchamacallit Technology Conference in Los Angeles. I was the guy with the nerdy glasses and blue sweater (see attached a photo of me from around that period) who approached you around 11:30 a.m. on the first day of the conference as you were standing by the big neon sign near the convention center entrance. As you may recall, I told you that I was working on a Master's in machine learning at Doohickey University, and we briefly discussed the possibility that I might apply for a position at your company at some point. You were very encouraging and told me to feel free to contact you directly when I finish my degree. Well, I'm happy to let you know that I recently graduated and am now on the job market and looking at what opportunities are available.

I've looked at your company's website and see that there are a few positions that may suit my qualifications, such as [add position details]. I know that there is a formal application process and am happy to follow the instructions online without bothering you about it, but I also thought you might be interested to know about my situation in case you have some other suggestions or ideas I may not be aware of. I would really appreciate any thoughts or advice you might have to offer.

[optionally, some more details about yourself, e.g.:] By the way, I thought you might be interested to know that I graduated with a GPA of 3.85. My data mining project won first place in a class competition we had, and I have excellent references. I attach a current CV.

Sincerely,

Johnny

[attach photo] [optionally, attach CV]

The part where you brag about yourself and/or attach a CV is optional, and I would only include that if I was reasonably confident it wouldn't be perceived as presumptuous or annoying. CTO's probably get a lot of emails like this so I have a strong feeling they might prefer the sender not to presume that they care to spend a lot of their time with an in-depth review of the sender's qualifications. So you might want to leave the CV for a follow-up email if and when it becomes applicable, and just mention one or two nice details about yourself like the GPA and the data mining award.

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"Dear Mr. X, You asked me to contact you about working for your company after I received my MSc degree. I have now earned the degree and have six months experience at Company A. I remain interested in working for your company. I've attached my resume. What is the next step I should take? Yours very truly,"

Polish up your resume to focus it toward Mr. X's company and attach it as a PDF.

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The CTO will remember. I did the same thing with a BMW offer.

Approach: (I'm informal because people are more comfortable if it seems like a friendly convo)

Hey [CTO First Name],

I'm looking to get back into the job market and the offer we had spoke about previously, has always been at the back of my mind. >> (Quick sentence here to show some excitement instead of desperation, about something particular you'd be working on that happened recently) E.g. << Plus I heard that BMW is using Android as there infotainment OS?!!! WHAT?!

When you get a chance, can you take a look at my resume and see if i fit anywhere?

-Rhei email here phone number Attach res

  • Way too informal, IMO. While one does not need to treat a prospective boss as a minor deity, some basic decorum and professionalism is appropriate. So, "Hello" - not "Hey". And "I am" instead of "I'm". – Nikita Dec 22 '15 at 1:35
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A professional relationship can have a "pause" of months, years or even decades without being inappropriate. Politely reengaging is the key issue. The CTO made an offer to contact him. From an executive perspective, business gets done by knowing quality people and relying on them. You remembering is more important than whether he remembers.

At this point, the idea is to reintroduce yourself and express an interest in hearing more about his company since you last spoke. You are reconnecting so don't be anxious. He will know you are interested, whether he remembers you or not.

Approach him by sending him a note/email or making a phone call. Start the conversation by introducing yourself. Remind him of where you met and what he said. Add a comment about your personal progress since the conversation. Then state that you are interested in continuing a discussion about the CTO's company and opportunities that might be available right now. You are seeking a mutually beneficial relationship, which is always of interest to both parties.

Either the conversation will progress or thank him for his time and mention that you should reconnect again soon. Even if nothing happens now, he's more likely to remember you when an opportunity opens up at his company again.

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