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The Importance of Professional Follow-Up

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Job search experts, guidance counselors, employment pros and hiring managers will repeat this guideline again and again until job seekers finally get the message: Following up can make or break your job search. Which, by extension, can make or break your career. Why do those on the employer’s side of the table stress this message to those on the job seeker’s side? Because they want great candidates, but they’re also human beings. Which means they’re easily distracted, they’re forgetful, and they have a hard time staying on track with a project, even if the project can directly support their own interests.

Countless times a day, managers and employers ignore, forget about, or overlook incredibly talented candidates who could transform their companies. But when an employer fails to call you back or respond to your email, the reasons are almost never personal. They just reflect the reality of human nature. So if you want closure, an answer, an offer, or an opportunity, it’s up to you to set your sites on this goal and track it down. Here are a few follow up tips and considerations to keep in mind.

Follow-up: The Persistent Bird Gets the Worm

1. Immediately after your in-person or video interview, send a thank you note. The note should be hand written and sent by mail, and it should be in the mailbox before the end of the day. Use the note to thank your interviewer for her time, and also to reiterate your interest and remind her of what she has to gain by choosing you.

2. Follow up again by phone or email within the next two days if you don’t receive a response. From that point forward, it’s usually okay to check in about twice a week as long as you’re receiving only silence.

3. If you’re getting responses, scale back on the follow up. Especially if you’re given a timeline and the timeline period hasn’t yet elapsed. For example, if you’re told you’ll receive a decision in two weeks, don’t call one week later.

4. No matter how many times you decide to follow up, keep your messages and calls short, and keep them respectful. Just a line or two will be fine. And of course, never let a tone of irritability or impatience creep into your words.

For more on how to draft and send a perfect, professional follow up message—both in terms of content and timing—reach out to the Little Rock staffing and career development experts at CSS.

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