The one thing that might be standing between you and your next job.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchNetworking
John called me yesterday. He was really excited. Last week, in the Executives Network meeting, I referred him to Brad. John wrote down the info, called Brad that afternoon and scheduled lunch for Tuesday. Midway through the lunch, Brad called his HR department and told them to call off the candidate search they were doing – because he was sitting across the table from the perfect person for the job.
How often does that happen? Someone follows up on a contact (not even a lead…just a contact), and they get a job. It happens more often than you think. And you know what happens when you don’t follow up. Nothing. That’s right. Absolutely nothing. How many jobs have you lost out on because you weren’t diligent in your follow up? I guess you’ll never know.
I’m amazed at the number of people that don’t follow up. I mean really great contacts that could help them in their search. How do I know they don’t follow up? Oh, I know alright! I can even figure out during a meeting who will follow up and who won’t.
But we’re all probably guilty of it…this lack of follow up. When I was in the job search, I definitely was. But, if I were to do it over again, that’s the one thing I would do differently. I would be diligent about following up on every contact, every lead, every neighbor…everyone! It wouldn’t matter who they were. Because what really matters is who they know. Even after I landed, I wished that I had made just a few more connections – realizing that they might’ve been helpful in my new position. But since I was already in that, calling them now would make it look like I was trying to sell them something. And when that job wasn’t all that I imagined, I wished I had built those other relationships to fall back on.
I’ve been accused of being a teacher, a taskmaster, a drill sergeant, and probably a few other names that don’t bear mentioning. All because I’m adamant that people write down the referrals. It’s not that I don’t trust that you’ll remember it…well, actually who are we kidding? That’s exactly what it is. I don’t trust that you’ll remember it – especially after you leave the meeting, run into a friend at the coffee shop, and sit down for a few minutes. A glance at your watch, and you realize you’re late to pick up your daughter, and just remembered you still need to run by the grocery store. By the time you get home, your wife is wondering what took so long. So do I think you’re going to remember it? No, I don’t. Case closed.
But here’s what else happens when someone gives you a contact and you don’t write it down. It looks like you’re not listening. It looks like you don’t think it’s a valuable contact. Basically, you just dissed the person who was trying to help you. You made them feel like their contact wasn’t good enough for you. You completely and blatantly disregarded their helpful advice. Do you think they’re going to help you out again?
But wait, you say, “I have a really good memory.” So do I, but I at least give people the courtesy of showing them I value them. Showing them their idea/contact/referral was very important, and I want to remember it. I’m going to memorialize it on my handy little note card (probably a NetNote). And I’m going to follow up. It may not be today, but I will follow up. And then after I do, I’m going to let them know by giving them a quick call, or sending an email. I’m going to thank them for the referral and find one or two things of value I got out of it (which may even be the introduction to someone else, or better yet, a job!). And I’m going to get back to them and close that loop.
Do I always do this perfectly? No, but I sure try. And so should you. Because that referral might be the person standing between you and your next job. And if you never follow up, you’ll never know.