The old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” What the adage doesn’t include, however, is the important part about how to work the contact! Expanding your network is only one part of the relationship building process. Step two, the art of the follow up, entails finesse and tact.
According to Heather Krasna author of Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service follow up is essential for job search success because without it, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself from the competition in this challenging market. “A follow up is a phone call, e-mail, or LinkedIn message to a person at an organization where you have applied for a job — preferably a person who is on the hiring committee or has a connection to someone on the committee,” Krasna says. “The purpose is to express additional interest in the position and to gather more information about what the hiring manager is looking for.”
The key, she says, involves requesting an informational interview and then maintaining contact after the initial meeting. Her advice? Krasna recommends that you “follow up a few weeks after that with just some general updates or to ask how they are, and/or to send them information they might find useful.”
On the Career Front
Following up isn’t only important when you’re job hunting. Patti DeNucci, a business networking and referral expert, speaker and author of The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business, says it’s about cultivating the time and space where relationships can grow and flourish, job opening or not. DeNucci knows the customary scenarios all too well “Say you met someone at a networking event. Someone introduced you, you sat next to each other or you met during a coffee break, a meal or happy hour. You had a pleasant conversation, you liked or ‘got’ each other and you exchanged cards.” After the event she mentions it’s wise to follow up by phone, e-mail or even via social media. “Within a few days is best, but I say better late than never,” she points out.