Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up
June 14, 2012 by Careerminds
Follow-up is a necessary step in the career transition process– if you frequent this blog, it’s no surprise that you know this by now, but the fact remains that many job seekers simply don’t do it. We’ve all been there: you submit several resumes to a variety of companies, and weeks pass without hearing anything back. Here’s lies a fork in the road– do you call and check in on the process, or do you sit at home waiting for the phone to ring? I’m sure we all know the right answer, but, again, that doesn’t mean we always follow our own advice.
Some job seekers are wary of making follow-up calls or sending emails for fear of seeming obnoxious or desperate, but as long as you follow up with tact, you shouldn’t have a problem. The goal is to come off as interested and tenacious after having submitting an application, interviewing, or just meeting a new network connection. Here are a few tips to keep from sending the wrong message:
- Allow for some, but not too much time to pass before following up. Usually a week to 10 days is appropriate. Remember, sorting through applicants may not be the only responsibility of the manager in charge of hiring, so in the same vein, allow a few days for him/her to respond if you leave a voicemail or send an email.
- Keep your follow-up concise. Either over the phone or in an email, know what you want to say, always have a relevant question to ask (i.e.: Have you received my materials, and is there anything else I could provide? When do you expect to begin interviewing?), and don’t deviate or ramble too much. Again, this person’s time is not solely dedicated to the one task of making this hire.
- Consider writing a short script of what you’d like to say over the phone. While it’s best not to memorize the script, it may be helpful to flesh out your thoughts ahead of time to avoid stumbling over your words, especially if you are nervous.
- Lastly, don’t over do it. If you are afraid of coming off as pushy or annoying, remember that it’s not necessary or advised to make several calls regarding the same application or the same interview. If you call once and do not get through, give the employer a few days to return your call. Only if you don’t hear back within a week would be advised to try again, and probably only once more.
Now that we’ve covered how to (or not to) follow up, let’s review when to follow up.
- After submitting an application/resume. Once you’ve allow a week or two to pass, consider calling or emailing the hiring manager to inquire about the receipt of your application and the expected timeline of the hiring process– perhaps the company will be accepting application for another week, and only then will the interviews be scheduled.
- After an interview. Hopefully you will have already asked about the expected timeline for hiring, so your post-interview follow-up should be conducted accordingly. If the hiring manager indicated that he/she would begin scheduling second interviews in a week, for instance, allow that much time before calling to check in.
- After making a new professional connection. This one may be unexpected, or at least unthought-of in the typical follow-up protocol, but you should absolutely call or email a new network connection soon after meeting him/her, particularly if he/she works for one of your desired companies. Here’s what to do:
- Take the first step. After you exchange business cards, make the call or send an email soon– the next day is ok. The longer you wait, the tougher it will be to really establish a connection.
- Offer a reminder. At the beginning of the call or email, be sure to reintroduce yourself, mention where the two of you met, and reference your previous conversation.
- Indicate your professional interest. Let him/her know that you are interested in working about Company XYZ, and that, based on his/her description of its needs, perhaps, you feel as though you could make a valuable addition to its team.
- Propose a brief 2nd meeting. Whether or not your second conversation is in person or over the phone, which may be easier, schedule a meeting dedicated to discussing the company and your possible place therein.
- Remember to reciprocate. This type of follow-up is focused far more on the networking aspect of job seeking than the others, and remember that networking is a two-way street. Let your new connection know how you can offer to help him/her, as well.
Although most professionals have heard about the importance of following up during the job search, many of us are hesitant to do it. But remember that, if done properly, following up after submitting your resume, having an interview or just meeting someone new can offer you peace of mind, knowing that your application was received successfully, or that you will stand out from the rest after contacting an employer to check in, and it can offer a potential employer confidence that you are passionate about your work and very interested in joining his/her company’s team.
Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.
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