This week on Get off the Pile, we once again asked our friend Noah Nielsen ’10 for some advice on following up with interviews and applications. This is one of the trickiest roads to navigate on your way to a new job, but we think these are some helpful tips.
Afterword: Alright Noah, what’s your advice for someone who has submitted 1,000 job applications and they don’t know what to do. What’s next for them?
Noah: Follow up! Phone is better than email, and too many people simply send a resume and then never check in. Those who are persistent stand out.
A: If they know someone at the same company, how do you leverage that connection?
N: Ask for help! Most people are happy to assist others (even strangers) and if you know someone at a company you are interested in, try to meet them for coffee or for an informational interview to learn more about the organization. Find out who handles hiring and ask if your contact would be comfortable making an introduction. Make sure to give them an opportunity to say no because they may not know that person very well if it’s a large company or they may not feel comfortable making the intro for any other reason which they are entitled to.
A: So you just had an interview. What’s the first thing you should do to follow-up?
N: Send a thank you note. During the interview, ask the person for their card and send them an email thanking them for their time (email is fine, though a hand-written note can stand out in the right situation). I could write an entire blog post on thank you notes, but in general remember to keep it concise and to mention something specific from your conversation that you found interesting or helpful. Many companies will not even consider a candidate if they do not write a thank you note, so this is a must.
A: It’s been a few months since you applied, what can you do to get off the pile?
N: FOLLOW UP! Until someone tells you not to, always follow up. Once a week is appropriate, or better yet, ask the company how often they suggest you follow up and then stick to that schedule.
A: What kind of follow-up is best if you get a rejection?
N: If you are rejected, politely thank the person for their time and consideration and try to learn from whatever feedback you receive. Unfortunately it is not always possible to get detailed feedback and sometimes candidates are not so much “rejected” but rather passed on in favor of a more qualified candidate. In any case, don’t take it personally, thank the hiring manager or recruiter and ask them if they have any advice for you or know or if they can introduce you to others in the industry who could be good contacts. Again, most people are happy to help and will appreciate your positive attitude and persistence.
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