Are you too aggressive or worse too passive?
In today’s high unemployment and economic uncertainty many people are looking for a job. When looking for a new job there are definitely some tools you need to have in your back pocket; like a good resume, interviewing skills, networks to contact, social media exposure, etc… However, there are also certain rules to following up with employers and recruiters once you have applied.
What is the happy medium to following up for the job?
First be careful not to go overboard on the follow up. Second don’t be so passive in waiting for the employer and recruiters to come to you. Being too aggressive will spook the employer/recruiter or worse get you on the employer’s desperate list. On the flip side, being too passive could lead to someone else getting the job before you.
Protocols for follow up
Pick up the phone and leave a nice concise thank you message along with a short email thanking them for their time while tastefully reiterating your interest.
Remember, managers and recruiters are inundated with calls and emails, so mixing up how you reach out to them once or twice a week is typically enough. That is unless they are engaging with you and need more information. If so, be prompt at responding. Also, when you do connect or reach out to them be sure that your message is cleaver and grabs their attention. There is a lot of competition out there so be skillful and purposeful in what you say. Take heed and be careful not to be too overzealous, pushy, or worse sound frustrated that they haven’t got back to you. Note: Try not to say the same things over and over again in your messages or calls.
Know your target company – Everyone should know how important it is to know what your target company does. This method of preparing for an interview is essential. However, did you know that continuing to keep up with what they do is also important? Invest more time researching what the company is moving towards, news articles, white pages, twitter, new product lines, etc. That way when you do present yourself again you have material to use that shows you can add value to the employer. Attach an industry or functional article, especially an article about competitors, or what could be useful information for them in an email. Note: Use this material on decision makers.
Know who you are talking with and more about their professional background, so you have more to talk about when you do reconnect. Don’t waste their time with idle nervous chatter, but rather show interest in what is relevant to what they are interested in.
Connect to your networks in the company or someone who knows someone in the company and start collecting a pool of people that know you, your professional skills, and work history; then ask them to talk you up to the decision makers (another form of follow-up).
Know the signs and be intuitive. If someone you are following up with sounds disinterested and/or cuts you short, it may be time to move on to the next job opportunity and not waste your time with following up. Your time is valuable too.
Mirror yourself to the person you are talking to….not exact duplication, but rather try and stay in tuned with who you are talking to. If the person on the other side of the phone or in person is energetic and assertive be that, if the person is a bit reserved be somewhat reserved, but show interest. Be careful not to sound so giddy or overly enthusiastic that it appears you are jumping up and down and flapping your arms trying to get their attention. Once you have their attention use it wisely.
Don’t sit back and wait for the job to fall in your lap. Being too passive in a job search by just applying online hoping for results does not get you noticed for the job. Even though most companies do ask that you apply online that is only the beginning. If you are interested in a job opportunity with them don’t stop there.
To get a job these days you need to hit the pavement in “old sales school” terms. Meaning get out there and meet people, connect through all the tools available to you via the Internet outside of the career site. Stand out in the crowd by educating yourself on what is happening in the market with your target audience and use some of the “follow-up protocol” techniques mentioned above to help.
Finally… never stop trying or give up. Finding a job in this market takes time, patience, hard work, and lots and lots of effort. Think positive and present yourself positively, so that others see your strength and ability to keep moving forward and eventually all you efforts will pay off.
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