Job search tip #10: Follow up; why it matters and what to do
February 16, 2012 1 Comment
You’ve made a connection at one of your desired companies, have met with an accountant, business analyst, public relations specialist, or someone who does what you’d like to pursue. Now following up with the people you talk with on your way to a new job is paramount to your success.
Some pundit wrote that it takes seven conversations to solidify a networking connection. Though this number sounds arbitrary, the point is that one conversation with a person you tried hard to meet with will do no good, unless you take control of the new relationship and reach out as many times as it takes to get that person to join your network.
Why does it matter? Like any healthy relationship, you can be of mutual assistance to each other. During the course of your conversation, the public relations specialist, for instance, indicated that there are no positions immediately available in the company; however:
- He knows other people in the industry and can provide contact information;
- The company is growing and there could be possibilities in the near future; or
- The company is currently looking to fill a marketing communications writer position, but management needs to look internally before advertising.
What’s important is not letting any opportunities slip through your hands. Networking Guru Liz Lynch, Smart Networking, gives five ways to stay in touch with the people you’ve met and would like to keep in your network.
Initiate contact. The day after meeting someone and taking their business card, call her. The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll make the call or send an e-mail, which is Liz’s preferred method of initiating contact.
Jog their memory. I always think it’s great to mention something personal you discussed at a meeting the day beforehand. “It was great meeting you last night at the alumni mixer,” you write. “I’m the person who’s considering pursuing business management. By the way, I hope your daughter has a great game this weekend.”
Connect the dots. After the initial greeting you’ll get down to business. “I was impressed with your description of ABC Company’s corporate culture and standing in the market. It sounds like a great place where I could help the company in the accounting department.”
Propose a no-barrier next step. Liz suggests a 15-minute phone call as opposed to meeting face-to-face. It seems like people are busier these days, so make the next conversation as easy as possible.
Make it a win-win. As the discussions progress, make sure you mention ways you can help your new contact. “That way,” Liz writes, “the other person will feel there will be something in it for them, and it won’t be about sitting through a one-sided sales pitch.”
Let me end by quoting Liz Lynch one more time: “If you go to event after event collecting business cards but never taking the relationship beyond that, why waste time going at all?” The message is plain and simple, following up is one of the most important things you can do in your job search. Next we’ll look at the three major components of a successful employee. One of them may surprise you.