The Lost Art of Follow Up

“Do what you said you’ll do, when you said you were going to do it.”

follow_upI’ve heard that phrase from many people throughout my life.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve pondered it a bit more as I meet anxious job seekers ready for the workforce.  Now, this doesn’t just apply to job seekers, so let’s get that straight.  This post applies to everyone.

Do what you said you’ll do, when you said you were going to do it.  I’m talking about follow up.  What is one of the BEST ways to differentiate yourself in the job search and in business?  Follow up!  But, it’s a lost art.  Why?  Because people rarely follow through.  The ones that do are often remembered fondly!

Here are a few ways you can set yourself apart with art of follow up:

Get their business card.  This is the first step.  Once you’ve introduced yourself and engaged in conversation, take mental notes about the person.  Do you have a hobby or passion in common?  Remembering small facts from your conversation and referencing them in your follow up makes it personal.  Here’s an example:

Hi Kirk, we met last week at a networking function at the University of ABC business school.  Isn’t it a small world that we were both part of the same amazing fraternity in college?  Thanks for your gift of time – I really appreciate the insight you provided regarding the marketing position at your company.  As directed, I’ve applied online so that I may be considered for the job.  Additionally, my resume is attached for your convenience.  Would you be able to tell me what to expect regarding the interview timeline?  I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards, – John

Request to connect on LinkedInDon’t forget to personalize your connection request. Let them know when/where you met or how you know them.  Remember that business card?  You can scan it using LinkedIn’s CardMunch app, which will let you automatically connect with the contact and it uploads the information into your address book.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t let you personalize the request, but if you’re doing this in real life, you can simply hand the business card back to them.  After all, it’s a digital world!

Do what you said you’ll do.  Did you notice that John mentioned “as directed, I’ve applied online” in his follow up?  Be sure to do what you say you’re going to do!  It matters.

Follow up, but don’t be a jerk.  Recruiters and hiring managers are busy.  They get tons of applications and resumes each week.  Ask for the follow up timeline (either in person when you first meet them or in your follow up) and then give them the time.  Two weeks passes in a flash for them, but seems like an eternity for you. You’re going to be tempted to send another email, then another…maybe even call them to ask about the status of your application.  Resist this urge.  Give them a little time and a little breathing room.  Be tenacious, but kind in your follow up.  Just don’t be a jerk with a message like this:

Hi. It’s me again. Remember – the guy that applied OVER A MONTH AGO to your job?? I need an answer from you. I know I’m well qualified for the position so what’s the delay?  Please call me back at 555-5555.  Thanks.  

Yeah…you won’t get anywhere with that attitude.

I hope this advice is helpful.  Remember, it’s important to follow up.  How you do so is just as important, so be sure to get it right the first time.  It can really set you apart from the competition in a very positive way.  Even if you don’t get that job, who knows?  They might remember you for an even better opportunity simply because you put in the effort to follow up and follow through.


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