Looking for job openings and job leads would seem to be the most critical step in the job search process for job seekers. But is it really?
Let me suggest that follow-up with a thank-you note or letter, at minimum, after networking or an informational interview or job interview is likely more important. Why? Because the vast majority of job applicants do NOT follow-up. The lack of this step, essential to the success of a job search, has been noted in reputable employer surveys over the years and in my own informal discussions with employers.
If you take the time to build relationships with individuals who gave their time and shared job leads, provided information and/or referrals, or actually interviewed you, you will absolutely stand out in the crowded job-search arena. The positive emotional connection that results from a simple thank you is key to being remembered and can often be the tip-the-scale factor in landing the job you really want.
So what is the hang-up? Why do so many job seekers drop the ball in this final leg of the job-search process? I have to shake my head when I hear job seekers explain that they are “too busy” to send a thank you. Too busy doing what? Sometimes the reason is confusion about what to say in a thank-you note. How about just, “Thank You, I enjoyed our conversation and got a lot out of it. I really appreciate your taking time to [fill in the blank about the connection activity and what specifically you gained of value].”
Keith Ferrazzi, internationally acclaimed speaker and author of Who’s Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone (one of my most favorite books), provides some tips for flawless follow-up in his blog post How to Surpass 95% of Your Competition with One Simple Gesture. Make the commitment to follow-up consistently and tip the Stand-Out-Candidate scale in your favor!