The Long Lost Art of Following Up

follow_upI’ve heard this phrase many times throughout my life:

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

Over the past couple of years, I’ve pondered this advice further as I meet more job seekers ready for the workforce. Now, this advice applies to everyone. It’s particularly poignant to job seekers and networkers. Because so many people don’t follow this great advice, those who do immediately stand out. Here’s why…

Do What You Said You’ll Do, When You Said You Would

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 who do stand out, and are often remembered fondly!

Here are a few ways you can set yourself apart with the 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 LinkedIn

Don’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.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Campus to Career!




Kirk BaumannAbout the Author: Kirk Baumann is a passionate recruiting advocate preparing the next generation of talent for the career of their dreams. He’s a social media enthusiast who loves technology and how it’s connecting people in ways like never before. Kirk currently serves as Vice President, Career Services for Enactus United States (formerly known as SIFE). There, he helps Fortune 500 & 100 companies recruit top talent for their organizations as well as helping students, alumni, and young professionals find their dream job. Follow Kirk on Twitter!



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