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June 2008
The Correct Protocol of Job Search

by Susan Reynolds

“What’s the right way…?”  “How do I have to handle…?”  “Do I have to…?”  Here at NewMarket Careers, I’m so often asked about the “proper” way to manage the ins and outs of job search.  People wonder when to send a thank you letter, or how aggressive to be in following up after an interview.  My answer?  Have good manners and be gracious, but do what it takes!

If you've done your research, and believe that your talents and abilities would be a great asset for a firm, go ahead and assertively pursue making effective contact with that organization. Good organizations are interested in having the best possible talent available to them, so they will be receptive in whatever way their time and energies allow. They may not be completely aware of every idea and problem solution that could be available to them. Thus your ability to persuade them to consider your possible contribution hinges on your ability to educate them of the potential benefits they could see.

Start with planning and assessment. What are the skills and abilities you can offer?  Do you genuinely know your potential contributions? Then turn to research. What organizations probably have the problems you could solve and the potential for growth in which you could participate? Do you specifically know who the functional decision-makers are in each firm that could enjoy the results of your contributions?  Rather than simply starting and ending with the human resources department, be prepared to contact people within the specific departments that probably need help. They might not have ever communicated their needs and potential to their personnel recruiting departments and would be open to new ideas and solutions.

Be assertive but respectful.  Letters should be brief and to the point.  Emails and phone messages should be very clear, concise, and to the point.  Have something to say and say it.

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at Newmarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search and career strategy firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers.  She can be reached at or

Other Job and Career Success Related Articles:
Answering the Salary Question...

Don't Be So Obedient!

Keep Your Career Out of the Kiddie Pool!

Impressing Potential Employers

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