Contributed by Caroline Ceniza-Levine of SixFigureStart
When looking for a new job, timing is everything. For a hiring company, matching candidates to jobs is as much about finding the right candidate as it is finding her at the right time (i.e., when there is an appropriate job available). If there is a great candidate but no job, there is no match. Maybe the hiring manager/ recruiter will remember that great candidate when a job comes up, but maybe not. Maybe the recruiter will ask if she’s still available, but maybe she’ll just assume she’s not.
Does that mean you should only pursue jobs that you know are open now? No, because many jobs are not advertised. More importantly, why cede control of your job search and your career to what happens to be available at any given moment? You need to have a proactive, take-charge approach to your career. You should seek out opportunities that matter to you, that fit your needs, skills and interests, and that propel your career to where you want it to go. Therefore, it’s important to focus on relationships, not specific jobs, and follow up diligently.
The all important question when working with a recruiter or liaising with a company in search of a new position is, how do you persist without pestering? Don’t make every communication a check-in about your job search. Turn the tables, and focus on helping your contacts. Give freely. It takes the pressure off of them to make the perfect pitch. Yet, it yields enormous benefits in terms of keeping yourself out there and building a reputation as someone who is helpful and motivated. What recruiter wouldn’t keep you in mind then?
Here are eight opportunities to follow-up with a recruiter or an internal contact within the company where you want to work. If you reach out with one of these tips every four to six weeks, that’s a whole year’s worth of follow-up:
- Say thank you. You started a relationship somehow, so thank them for that call, meeting, or email correspondence.
- Give a results update. If they gave you advice, tell them what happened.
- Send an article. You should be reading about their industry and company anyway, and it shows you are on top of industry news.
- Congratulate. If you hear good news about them or their company, point it out.
- Make a referral. You should be checking their open positions to ensure that you stay on top of their needs. If you know someone good, pass that on.
- Make a match. If you read a good book, try a good restaurant, etc, pass that on (within reason, make sure to keep it professional).
- Wish holiday greetings. Happy Holidays or Happy New Year are perfect annual follow-up opportunities.
- Solve a business problem. As you read about the company or industry, offer an intelligent or creative idea.
When it comes to networking, people tend to focus on (and fear) the approach – how do I meet people, how do I get contact info, etc. But the real benefits are in the follow-up. Anyone can get that first contact. Not everyone can build lasting relationships. Practice the follow-up tips above, and you will build a solid network over time. You will be naturally plugged into that hidden job market and stay in the front of important people’s minds when the right job arises. Timing is everything.
All information is copyright © SixFigureStart 2008. Learn more about follow-up and other job search secrets from SixFigureStart’s Proactive Job Search Basics teleclass series. Next series starts April 7. Special discount for GlassHammer readers. More info at www.sixfigurestart.com.