Your job search follow up stinks. Here's how to fix it

Your job search follow up stinks. Here’s how to fix it

In my experience, job-search follow-up is deplorable! It’s the weakest part of the job-search process. Follow-up at the minimum means sending thank you notes, but most people don’t even do that!

Job seekers: Thank you notes and follow-up communications are not optional, they are required.

Great follow-up can put you ahead of other candidates because:

  • It shows persistence.
  • It allows you to expand, reinforce or clarify something discussed in an interview.
  • Good manners are always valued.
  • It prevents companies from forgetting about you.
  • It reinforces that you want the job.

Not following up is risky because some hiring managers will dismiss an applicant who does not send a post-interview thank you note, saying it indicates poor follow-through and a lack of interest in the position. Also, other candidates will follow up, so you could lose the opportunity to compete for the job.

Here’s how to do world-class follow-up:

  • Send a note within 24 hours while it’s still fresh in your mind — and while you are fresh in the interviewer or hiring manager’s mind.
  • Address a note to each individual person you met.
  • Spell everyone’s name correctly, including the company’s.
  • Start by thanking them for the opportunity to meet, and acknowledge that they took time out of their day to do so.
  • Next, note why you think you’d be a good fit for the role. No more than three reasons. Bullet points are optimal as well. This is an opportunity to elaborate on why you are a great fit, in writing, beyond your initial cover letter and interview.
  • In your close, hit these three points: Express your interest, commit to following up with them again within a specified timeframe, and thank them, again, for their time and consideration.

Here’s what you do after the thank you note:

  • In your next communication, begin with a pleasantry, followed by a sentence explaining where you left off during your last exchange. For example, “You had indicated to me that you’d be making your final decision during the week of <date >, and I just wanted to follow up to see where you are in that decision.”
  • Include something of value in your follow-up instead of being perceived as nagging. Perhaps you just completed some training, closed a big deal, or finished a major project. Highlight those things. If you are volunteering or taking outside courses while unemployed, talk about it.
  • Close with the next follow-up you will initiate. Don’t ask them to call you back. Instead, let them know that, “I’ll follow up again within a few days, but in case you need to reach me, here is the best contact number: XXX-XXX-XXXX.”