Whether you are applying for posted positions, connecting with recruiters, or networking to build a business, a critical component is often overlooked — follow up. What can you do to turn the business cards you have diligently collected into opportunities? Here are few tips:
Add value within 24-36 hours and deepen connections. Great networkers find a way to add value to those they meet. It can be as simple as an interesting website, book, or other link that you send to follow up, or a connection you can facilitate. Simply put, we meet many people at events and few follow up, so those that do stand out. Someone is not in your network if they don’t remember you! When the situation calls for it, set up follow up meetings with people who seemed interesting, this is where opportunities unfold.
Send a card or hard copy resume. A revolutionary idea, but consider all the email you dredge through with the goal of cleaning out your inbox. Unless it adds value, your follow up email is probably fated for the trash. Personal physical mail is rare these days and makes a lasting impression. Even follow up calls can be a “dime a dozen” for recruiters.
Many professionals (recruiters too, they say) keep hard copy notes on file. Less than 25% of people send a follow up or thank you after an interview, and the percentage sending something after a job fair or networking meeting is likely far less. For job seekers, this can be a way to follow up without violating the request of an employer for “no calls.”
Know the difference between persistence and annoyance. Staying top of mind is key to generate business or land a job and you are often walking a fine line. Listen to the verbal and non-verbal responses and be careful of being so focused on your message or mission that you miss the signals of your listener, especially over the phone. Ask when it would be appropriate for you to follow up again and always look to add value in each interaction by focusing on what you can give.