We’ve all been there. You’ve done your research and found a great job opportunity that fits your goals and skill set. Your resume is perfect, your job application and cover letter submitted. For the first few hours, everything revolves around the excitement and promise of that opportunity. But after the first day or two goes by, that feeling starts to sink in…
Sitting and waiting by the phone, refreshing your email every thirty seconds can be the most agonizing part of the job search process. Many job seekers that I talk to tell me this is the most frustrating part of the whole experience – waiting to hear back. Often, nearly 90% of the time, the average job seeker hears no response from their applications.
When you’re looking to make a change in your career and life, who has time for that?
Whether you’ve submitted an online application or sent your resume directly to a contact at the company, an appropriate follow up process can mean the difference between landing a job you’re excited about and dragging your job search on much longer than needed. So how do you draw the fine line between following up effectively and pestering your future manager? It takes a combination of the right timing, message, and delivery.
Timing is Everything
As frustrating as it can be, initially, patience is a virtue. If you don’t hear anything within a week, it’s acceptable to follow up via a short email to confirm their receipt of your information. If you’ve just submitted an online application to their job portal, find a contact within their company to reach out to either through your personal network or research. Then, I recommend that my clients reach out once every 2 weeks to stay top of mind. It’s important to understand that, for many hiring managers, their primary job responsibility does not lie in recruiting, so you want to consistently remind them of your interest without coming across as too pushy or annoying.
Provide Valuable Content
As I mentioned, your first follow-up email can be a concise note that verifies receipt of your application and reaffirms your interest. From there, it’s extremely important to provide VALUE with each communication. Use these opportunities to provide additional information in the form of a link to a professional site that outlines your experience, a magazine article that you’re quoted in, or a recent award that you’ve received. You want to look at it as a nurture campaign in that you are building on your resume each time you reach out. I had a client, Jenna, that I worked with who used her follow up emails as a way to share different blog posts that had been featured in industry publications. This allowed her to showcase her expertise as well as build her brand as a thought leader. The hiring manager no longer had to trust her resume, proof of Jenna’s experience was sent to him on a fairly regular basis.
Choose the Right Delivery
Do I send an email and risk getting lost in their inbox? Should I call and leave a message? Send a note via snail mail? There are clearly many options and it can be tough to determine the most effective choice. My no-exceptions rule is to follow your prospective company’s lead. If there is a policy in place where they request that you don’t follow up via phone, don’t risk it. Be respectful of their process. Email is the most common (and easiest!) way to transfer information, but don’t overlook a handwritten card if you’ve met in person or spoken over the phone. Consider any shared contacts that you may use to your advantage as well. Do you have an advocate in the company that can follow up on your behalf? Make sure you’re using all of your available resources to stay top of mind.
Don’t wait until after you’re stressing about hearing back to plan your follow up strategy. Have a plan in place that you can set into motion easily and a way to track who you’ve followed up with and who you need to contact next.