#1 Get the decision maker’s attention with a compelling (graphic preferred over verbal) presentation of HOW you will add profits or cut costs or improve processing
#2 Show that you are credible and trustworthy- not a potential risky hire, highlight relevant achievements, share a personal endorsement from a mutual contact
#3 Beat the competition with polite, persistent pings!
Most people are terrible at following up.This is an invitation for you, however, to stand out and seize a competitive advantage if you DO keep in touch consistently and courteously. Your persistence shows you take initiative, persevere through challenges and your interest in them is sincere, they are not just another one on a long list.
The squeaky wheel really does win in the job search game IF the noise is made politely, the content has value to the recipient and there’s respect for the other party’s interests and their time. Don’t expect an employer to remember you when their needs change; it’s your responsibility to keep the communication channel open and your message current and meaningful.
If you have not followed up on a lead for an open position in a reasonable period of time (reasonable defined by the situation–how urgent is the other party’s need, what priority has the employer assigned to this activity, the extent of trust and interpersonal chemistry, etc.) Be sure to contact them by their preferred method of communication (ask or reply using the same mode: phone, text, email, voice message, etc.) with an intriguing personalized message designed to grab their attention. Nothing demeans your value as much as repeating meaningless fluff over and over or asking straight out for a job vs. showing you are a thinker and offering assistance before being asked.
- If they don’t respond, follow up again within a week to check if they received your first message.
- If they don’t respond after two follow- ups, re-set the cycle to the beginning and periodically get in touch.
At some point, either they will dismiss you or you will no longer be interested. Remember, no timely response is not always a rejection or that a job is no longer available. It could also be that a decision maker is busy, didn’t pay attention to your previous messages, has other priorities or relies on reminders. Pocket your pride and keep in touch because…
- This may trigger them to reach out to you about a different opportunity
- This may remind them to refer you elsewhere
- It shows good character: you follow through and appreciate them
- Additional interaction builds towards a relationship and it can’t hurt to have more genuine interactions to strengthen bonds
Follow up regularly until you are told to go away or you are no longer interested. Don’t take lack of response as a permanent no. Stay on the radar. Don’t ask for work. Do offer an idea, start a discussion, share info, give every one of your networking contacts something remarkable especially to them so they don’t forget you! Just as much as you want an offer that satisfies your requirements, an employer needs evidence from you that you understand and want to address their needs. Either you or the employer can initiate the next conversation. As the candidate, you have more control when you get the employer to seek your help. Finding out first hand what the employer needs is a very effective and efficient technique for sourcing unadvertised opportunities in the hidden job market. By maintaining an ongoing dialogue, you continue to impress the employer with your knowledge while you are actively collecting insights into the employer’s needs.
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