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July 2013
The Dangerous Dance of Job Search Follow-Up!
by Susan Reynolds

Are you a mind-reader? No? Well, that’s about what you'll need to be as you attempt to do the best possible job of following up with a career lead!

At the very least, you'll feel like some unwitting participant in a reenactment of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Too much follow up and you’re stalking. Too little follow up and you're forgotten, disinterested, and out marketed. Sounds pretty dangerous when your livelihood is on the line! So what's the best strategy for "just right"?

So yes, mind-read to the best of your intuition. Try to intuit the preferences and needs of those with whom you've interviewed. Sending a thank you note quickly after your interaction is the obvious first step. But even in that simple thank you note, job searchers squander the opportunity to continue to strategically market themselves. Each note, each email, each phone call is an opportunity to identify a new topic that could be persuasive or to revisit a line of questioning that might not have gone their way. This requires insight and intuition. You have to give careful thought and make copious notes about each interview interaction, and each person who was involved. Try to note how you think each person interpreted your candidacy and what they might be thinking about your strengths and weaknesses. Craft your follow up to gently address their possible concerns, without inventing new issues, and amplify your strengths. Yes, mind-reading would be useful at this point!

If you hear nothing, give a gentle nudge. If you get no response, try a different person or a different tactic, or both...probably more than once. No matter your level of insight, waiting and doing nothing is almost certainly not your smart choice!

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at NewMarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search, career strategy, and resume-writing firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers. She can be reached at or 661-755-3308.

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