“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.”
- Calvin Coolidge
Networker, Your Job Is to Follow Up
“I sent Jocelyn an email… never heard back from her.”
This is a comment I got from a recent grad for whom I’d made a warm introduction to a hiring contact. A grad who wanted a job in outside sales. To a hiring contact who was desperately trying to place an outside sales person!
I know that approach avoidance often keeps you from jumping into the job search. What I’m noticing now is another challenge. You need to develop the follow-up skills that keep you in the game.
It’s a new skill you need to learn for the job search – and the workplace. And it’s different than getting assignments done on time in the classroom.
What else would you give up after one failed attempt?
Think about all the things you know how to do today because you didn’t give up after one failed attempt.
Think of all the networking connections you’ll miss in your life if you do!
So next time you “don’t hear back” on a networking introduction, try these ideas.
1. You Drive the Communication Process
You sent an email and didn’t hear back. Tons of things can go wrong with email. Maybe it was caught in their spam filter.
It’s your job to lead the contact process and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
Follow up until she clearly indicates either (i) she doesn’t want to talk with you, or (ii) she’s talked with you and decided you’re not the right person for the job.
2. People Are Busy; Help Them Out By Reminding Them
They get tons of email each day. If you send and email and don’t hear back, pick up the phone and call her the next day. Do this early in the day, before 9 am when things tend to be less hectic.
3. Follow-up, But Don’t Stalk
If you call or send another email, let her know that you know how busy people can be. Tell her you’ll plan to touch base with her once a week to follow up and you’ll be ready when she has time to talk.
Bonus? You can use the job search process as evidence of your demonstrated ability to persist until you reach a goal.
4. Differentiate Your Communication
Have you done any research on the company?
Maybe you can send a note and say, here’s 3 ways I can help you in this role. Or, here’s three questions I have about your company – I’d love to discuss this with the hiring manager.
For sure have some good questions about the job at the ready:
- What are the key goals the person in this position will be expected to deliver?
- What are the biggest obstacles they will need to overcome to be successful?
- What’s would be most important to you (or the hiring manager) in making this selection?
“Here’s a list of 10 things I would do in the first 30 days on the job to make sure I’m on track and ready to produce.” Maybe give them 5, and then say you’ll tell them about the other 5 in the interview.
5. Always Follow Up with the Person Who Connected You
Let them know what action you took, and what the results were, because we’re interested in knowing.
And before you tell them you “never heard back,” please prepare to also tell them what you did to follow up in the process.
This is what I always tell grads – and really people of any age – you are MORE EMPOWERED THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE. You take the lead, provide the leadership, drive the communication (respectfully) and apply her feedback accordingly.
Don’t send one note, not hear back, and give up. You keep going, until someone gives you a clear signal about what your next move should be. What are you going to do to improve your networking follow-up process? Leave a note below!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!
About the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. She blogs at degreesoftransition.com. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter, too.