In the land of what to do when it comes to your career you have many choices. You can be aggressive about sending out your resume to anyone and everyone who would have a look. You could network your butt off with anyone and everyone who will speak with you. You can attend every networking event, industry mixer or meet-up group until everyone knows you by your first name. But there is one thing and really only one thing you can do that will hands down guarantee your success no matter what the job, what your job level and how many interviews you are lucky to snare.
The only thing you need to be not just good at but GREAT at is your ability to – wait for it- “FOLLOW UP!” Yes, you heard it hear first. You can do just about anything well, your resume could be a work of art, your network can be the envy of your friends but guarantee if you do not know how to follow up on a job lead, an interview and even a thank-you, your chances for success drop down significantly in your search for the perfect job.
Following up is often an underestimated skill not everyone has the ability to master. Whether it’s you ability to follow up on work tasks, or personal chores in a way that ensures you can check them off your list once and for all, the need to be great at following up when it comes to your career is no less important and may be what makes or breaks you when it comes to landing your next job offer. You are good at so many things but those who don’t or choose not to follow up are setting themselves up for great disappointment when it comes to making sure you are in line for a great job opportunity.
It’s okay if you are not qualified for a job you interview for. But do you know what else is out there if you don’t send a note, follow up on a job lead or even “ask” someone with a follow up question what else they may know of? Having an arsenal of follow up questions, comments and tactics ensures that you know how to master not only the job interview but what comes after as that is sometimes more important than making the initial connection. Sending someone a thank you note after an interview, following up a few weeks after you met with someone, making sure the people you meet or have recently been introduced to you remember you weeks or months later, are all good steps to ensure you are appropriately following up. Even if you meet someone and there isn’t a right opportunity for you at that moment in time, following up with them does not mean you are being a pest or annoying, it means that you are keeping them front of mind and that you have the sense to know there maybe something there if you are just a little patient.
Following up is really having a good dose of common sense. There is no other way to put it. Following up shows a level of professional etiquette that you either have or you lack but can make the difference if someone remembers you or not. Following up with someone about your career is not a boring or bothersome chore, it is practical business keeping if you are to succeed in business or in finding your next job no matter how many interviews you have been on.
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