If you are not in sales, the concept of following up may not make much sense to you. Recently I was teaching a class on how to find a better job in a tough market, and I mentioned this concept of following up. A gentleman in the class spoke up and said, “I wanted to know how to find a network administrator job, not a sales job.” I understood his concern, but to find the position you covet, you will need to be somewhat of a salesman first. And your success in this area will be one of the factors that determine the quality of job you ultimately land.
In the article How to Search for a Job, we covered ways to search for jobs. So now, assuming that there is a job available and that you are qualified for it, we will examine how to put you in the best possible position to obtain it.
To understand why it is important to always follow up, consider this old-school scenario: Let’s imagine your resume is one resume in a stack of thousands that is sitting on a recruiter’s desk. When you call the recruiter or prospective employer, you may only get his or her voicemail. When you leave a voicemail message, two things will happen: one, your resume comes back to the top of the pile; and two, the recruiter gets to know a little bit of your personality as well as the type of person you ‘could be’ due to your voice inflection in the message.
So carefully consider the impression that you give when you leave messages. Do you leave a concise and pleasant message for an otherwise in-demand recruiter? Or do you leave a somewhat harsh message that makes the recruiter feel like they need to get a suitcase for the guilt trip you are sending them on since they aren’t sitting by their phone waiting for you to call?
The whole point of following up is to bring your resume back to the top of the pile so that you are in front of that recruiter. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Won’t I upset the recruiter by calling them all the time?” You will if you call more than once a week and are not courteous and polite, but the good recruiters like people who follow up.
If you really want to set yourself apart, here are some great ways to accomplish that:
Send a thank you follow up (a short sentence with the words “thank you” included). You can use a nice note card or crisp sheet of paper, or use one of the many free e-card websites that can help you accomplish this task.
Always follow up by phone with the HR department or a recruiter when you send them your resume. You can also reach out through LinkedIn.
Always follow up and send a thank you email after you do any type of interviewing with anybody. You might have to send your thank you to the recruiter so they can send it on to the manager, but that’s okay. When you send a thank you, this gives the good recruiter something to tell the manager about.
Always send a thank you to the recruiter who helped you get your job. In a corporate setting, this could help you get a promotion that you didn’t know was available.
Always send a note to the manager who hired you. You may work directly for that person, but it is still quite meaningful.