Recently I was at a meeting with military folks transitioning to the civilian work world. Several asked for my card. Not one has contacted me in the weeks since.
An old friend has been looking for work for a year. Many people who know him ask me about his progress. And then say ‘he never followed-up’ about referrals or leads they offered. Few thus offer more than once. People ask me for help at events and seminars and I give them my card saying shoot me an email and I will help. Maybe 1 in 25 ever follow up.
Job search is difficult for most people. You have to decide what do you want to do, where do you want to do it, and deal with all that rejection.
You may have read that much of the job market is hidden. And that most people with any experience find their next job via their network. But many people persist in spending most of their job search online and almost no time in contact with other people.
Now the internet has wonderful support for your job search. You can do a lot of research to find target organizations, to learn about employers in your field, to read about the latest technology or market changes. Niche job boards and job fairs, like ClearedJobsNet's, are really useful. Social media can be helpful too.
But it is human connections who will make the difference between a long, difficult job search or quicker success. People can help you find the right job - the one where you can succeed. And they can help you get it sooner than throwing your resume into another applicant tracking system.
But not if you do not do your homework. Not if you are one of the many who don’t follow up.
How do you do follow up
- Make notes on business cards at the time you meet someone.
- Jot notes into your phone or on paper about who you met and what they might offer after meetings, job fairs, or events.
- Set up time each day to follow up on everything from the past 24 hours.
- Make a ‘tickler’ file on those you are following up with to recheck.
- Develop a system to help you follow up consistently.
Once you have followed up, then remember to act!
- Say thank you for the help you receive.
- Contact anyone you are referred to.
- Keep the person in the loop about your progress.
Got a bunch of such business cards or notes stuck around that you have not acted on? Go back through them and reconnect. Check them out first online if you need to. Remind the person how you met or who you are. State what you want.
Many of us see a failure to follow up as an indication of how you would be as an employee. Not what you want! And not likely to make us offer you more help.
So, all those old connections you mentioned your job search to but never followed up? Call or send a note. Tell them your progress and current interests. Ask them for something specific. And maybe even admit you did not follow up on a past lead and say you are sorry you let it get away from you.
Success may often be mainly about ‘showing up.’
Job search success is often about ‘following up!’
Patra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Specialist. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.