Should You Follow Up With an Employer After You Apply for Their Job Opening?
Our 25th episode! We're all grown up.
Let's handle a QA session question from John in upstate New York:
Hey Brian, this is John from upstate New York, I’ve been applying for a bunch of jobs lately and I’m wondering if I should just wait and see what happens or if I should be more aggressive in following up, reaching out?
I’m not a passive person, so it’s hard for me to sit here and wait!
Hey John – another great question from our fan base – since we are reading your question on the air and digging into it, you’ll also be getting a free month on our site, so be on the lookout for that email.
I believe strongly there is a right and a wrong way to follow up – so let’s discuss the difference.
First off, I’d like to cite my interview a few weeks back with Jesse Cole owner of the Savannah Bananas
… when I asked him about his hiring process and what he looks for, he said:
“If someone shows me persistence in trying to get a job with us, that shows me a lot. I don’t want people who give up at the first sign of adversity, I want people who push through.’
He went on to say, he wants people that are passionate about working for his team, not just working in sports… so when someone shows a deep an continual interest in his organization he takes notice.
So take that as one data point in your question…but lets go deeper.
My overall take is that being persistent is great with small to mid-sized companies, and not as effective with larger scale companies. Minor league teams – heck yeah, they are looking for energetic, versatile, enthusiastic team members and they may be pulling from a smaller number of applicants. A small marketing firm? A sales job? A sports social media job?
Yes yes and yes – for jobs like these your ability to communicate and persuade actually shows you off quite well!
But that doesn’t mean for all jobs it suits you well to be overly communicative.
Let’s handle the how to:
So how do you follow up in a way that isn’t annoying? You don’t want this to hurt your chances, you want it to enhance them!
Here’s how to do it right.
1: No cold calling. When you call a hiring managers direct line, or get routed to them, your call is interrupting their workflow. You are inserting yourself smack dab in the middle of their day and most don’t like that. I know when I was a news director at a regional sports network, if I got a call I expected it to be a team calling, or one of our reporters, or something I needed to handle right away… when it was someone calling in about the editors job we had advertised…I couldn’t get off the phone fast enough.
Most cold calls will go direct to voicemail, since for many of us in the workforce, every minute is accounted for already.
So what do you do?
Start with email.
This allows the hiring manager to read and answer on their own time. But it’s equally important what you say, so take this part to heart.
Do not just send an email announcing you have bestowed upon them the honor of your application. If you send an email that says “just wanted you to know that I applied!” that will do nothing.
Think substance. What can you say that connects you to that job opening… make it quick, but make it powerful.
Say you had applied for an entry level job as an social media coordinator at a regional sports network – make a point that during your internship with a minor league baseball team you helped set up their twitter accounts, began their youtube channel and was instrumental in their Instagram.
If you have skills that are loosely connected to the job you are applying for – like lets say you are applying for a sales job but you don’t have sales experience. Maybe you relate the retail job you had in college at the mall to how you dealt with people.
Make a quick pitch of how you are a match for this job via email. Just don’t copy exactly what you wrote on your cover letter, try to be a bit unique.
After you do an initial outreach you’ll know pretty quickly if you hit the mark or not. If no one responds… don’t do anything more. Don’t be that person who is desperate and clawing. It’s unattractive. You made your outreach, you said your piece…now let it lie for a bit.
If they do respond, if you get the chance to have a conversation, or even just a follow up email. Now, I think you can get personal. Write a note. This is where I go counter culture. It sounds odd to write a note, but you are looking to stand out right? Everyone sends emails, I want you to write a note. With a pen.
Again – short and sweet – thanks so much for talking with me about your open sales manager job, the chance to work for your organization would be an exciting step in my career journey.
The whole part of responding or being active in your job search is so that you become memorable for the right reasons and get yourself closer to the opportunity you seek.
Don’t get form letter. No copy and paste, everything personal. And if you don’t hear back, don’t keep trying…more effort doesn’t mean better.
Finally each business is different so be smart about your communication, pay attention to what you know about their culture and their business style… there is no one size fits all to job seeking.
That should do it for this Monday's QA session join us on Wednesday for another sports industry expert interview!