Many of you have heard me talk, and have seen articles I’ve written about, the #1 thing every job seeker must have. Your chances of finding a job without having the #1 thing are pretty slim – as in “slim and none (and slim’s on vacation!).” After working with thousands of people over the past 23 years I’ve concluded your chances aren’t a whole lot better unless you have the #2 thing too. The most important thing every job seeker must have is a positive attitude; the second most important thing is great follow-up and follow through.
For example, I’ll call or email a troubled job seeker (or O’Farrell client, ugh) to see how his or her search is going. When I don’t hear back, I call and leave a message that goes something like this: “Jill, this is Dave O’Farrell. I have some good news for you; give me a call.” When Jill calls to hear the good news, I say, “Jill, the good news is that I know what’s standing between you and a new job: YOU DON’T FOLLOW U-U-U-P-P-P-P-P!!!”
Here are some other examples of things I see from time to time:
- I hear through the grapevine that someone has missed an interview.
- One of my clients forgets an appointment with me.
- Someone has a hot lead for someone else at JobSeekers; the other person fails to follow through. In one specific instance that I know of, the fellow had been looking for a job for over a year.
Follow-up and follow through applied.
Follow-up and follow through are vitally important not just for success in search, but in most areas of our lives. JobSeekers’ advisory board member and management consultant JB Kirk says that poor follow-up and follow through behaviors are epidemic in the executive ranks throughout corporate America. The implications for the job seeker are obvious: demonstrate good behavior in this area, and you will certainly stand out.
My first indicator of good follow up behavior (and therefore, job search success) with a new member of JobSeekers is when he or she responds to the welcome message I send to each new person. I ask them to respond to three questions. I also ask them to email a résumé. People who honor these two requests honor themselves. Their response not only helps us to help them; it also indicates the behavior that will lead to success in search, on the new job, and in many other areas of life.
Another key indicator happens on Fridays. I’ll have some advice, information or a referral (AIR) that can help someone and I’ll ask him or her to send me an email with a reminder of what I promised. Guess how many people follow through? About one in five. Amazing.
» Only one person from last Friday!
Some indicators of good follow through behavior (and therefore, job search success) with one of my clients is whether or not he or she completes the exercises that I assign before, during and after the MRMT™ workshop. I assign a lot more work than can be accomplished on the first day of the workshop, so I give clients four days (Friday through Monday) in between the first and second day to follow through on their assignments. Many times clients come in with a list of excuses of why they couldn’t devote any time to completing their assignments over the weekend. I wonder, was that an aberration, or was that a fairly typical four days of job search at your house?
A few years ago a client wrote to tell me about her new job. Julie wrote: “I had four companies interested in me all at once: a couple of contract positions near closure and one permanent position here in Atlanta that I was just waiting on the offer. Then another offer came in. It started when I received a call from the CFO. We interviewed over the phone, and then I went in for an interview (five people in five hours!). Within 48 hours I sent all five people a thank you note that was unique to the interview we had. Within two weeks they had finalized the offer. The use of the materials we developed in your workshop were critical, Dave. When the CEO called to offer me the job, he said that I did an excellent job of follow-up.”
The #2 thing’s bottom line.
Hiring managers are busy; sometimes the job goes to the one who has the best follow-up – someone who is persistent without being a pest – someone who is finding a way to make it happen instead of finding a reason why it didn’t.
The bottom line is this: to improve your job search results, improve your follow-up and follow through behaviors. The solution is simple. Make a decision to follow-up and follow through. Manage your time. Set priorities and stick to them. Here are three relevant verses:
- Proverbs 13:18 – He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
- Proverbs 24:32-33 – A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
- Titus 1:8 – Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
You’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to follow up on every networking or job lead just like a crime scene investigator does. You never know which clue may be the one that cracks the case.
If you have an anecdote about follow-up and follow though from your job search (either a good or bad), please send it to me. I’d love to hear it. Thanks.
See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we learn and apply godly self-discipline.
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