The GREAT JOB SOONER Blog

5 Crazy Mistakes Job Seekers Make

I’m not going to bore you with the same old job search mistakes – letting your cell phone ring at an interview, blah blah. Here are some crazy job search mistakes that are often made even by smart job seekers like you.

1. Making no attempt to get their resume past the gatekeeper when they apply online.

Sending your resume to Human Resources without also sending a copy directly to the hiring manager is a huge missed opportunity. Sure, the job posting doesn’t tell you the manager’s name, but there are ways to find out.

2. Basing their job search on answering job postings.

Given that about three-quarters of jobs are obtained through word of mouth, networking and personal referrals, does it make sense to spend nine-tenths of your job search time looking for jobs online? Learn how to use informational interviews to get a job faster.

3. Under-utilizing LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a great way to advertise your skills to recruiters and make useful connections – if you do it right. Most people don’t know how to use it, starting with how to put together an excellent profile.

4. Not getting serious about job search until they’ve been unemployed for months.

I’m going to be blunt: the longer you’re unemployed the worse you look to employers. If you’ve been out of a job for, say, six months you’re considered “long-term unemployed.” Don’t let yourself fall into that vicious cycle.

If you have just gotten laid off, my advice is to take a reasonable-length vacation if you need to – I suggest a few weeks – then start spending 25-40 hours a week doing a smart, well planned, proactive job search.

If you really feel you’ve got to go crazy and take a year off, I doubt I can talk you out of it – but be prepared for a tough job search when you get back.

5. Failing to capitalize on the expertise that’s available.

Job search is simple and easy, right? Of course it isn’t. Making room in your budget for competent professional resume writing, job search advice and interview coaching is one of the best investments you can make in your future earning potential and career satisfaction.

Just to give you a little more than I promised, I’ll include one more:

6. Trusting themselves to proofread their own writing.

I’ve worked in publishing houses, and I can tell you that even professional writers need a second and maybe third pair of eyes to catch the mistakes they don’t notice because they were too familiar with their own writing. Proofreading isn’t even expensive. Did you know you can get a resume proofread by a professional for $5-10? Go on LinkedIn and find a qualified proofreader. It’s crazy not to.

That’s enough craziness for now. Be smart and get a great job sooner!

Super-useful LinkedIn Feature Returns: Search Someone’s Connections

It used to be that you could do a Boolean search through the Connections list of someone you’re connected to on LinkedIn, to see who they know that you might like to be introduced to. What a boon when you’re looking for a job.

Well, you can now do that again, and without paying for premium. Here’s a quick video demonstration by LinkedIn marketing guru Brynne Tillman.

If you don’t see the “See Connections” link in someone’s profile it means they’ve set their Privacy settings to prevent it. For example, I don’t let people see my connections because many of my connections are clients and their names are confidential. But I think you’ll find that many of your connections have not hidden theirs.

Use your LinkedIn network to find the right people to network with! Nothing beats talking to people as a way to get a job.

10 Ingredients of an Excellent LinkedIn Profile

10 Ingredients of an Excellent LinkedIn ProfileWhat are the must-haves for a LinkedIn profile that enhances your image and helps you advance your job search and career?

I could write a book on getting the most out of LinkedIn, but you probably don’t have time to read it anyway. For now, let’s just look at the top priorities.

Nail these, and you’ll stand out from most of the competition, whether you’re in job search, self-employed or simply serious about career management.

1. Branding.

Know what makes you stand out – your unique brand or key selling points – and emphasize it throughout your profile. If you don’t know what makes you a great person to hire or collaborate with, how is anyone else going to figure it out?

2. A Good Professional Headline.

This is just your title and company, right? Nope. This field is one of the most important for keywords as well as a first impression, so write a more branded headline than the one LinkedIn automatically generated. An easy but effective formula is to start with your job title, then add a dash or symbol followed by a tagline or mention of one or more of your best selling points.

3. Mistake-free Writing.

The vast majority of us, even professional writers, make mistakes in grammar, capitalization, word usage and spelling. Unless you received all A’s in English, you will probably benefit from having your profile copyedited and/or proofread by a professional. You can find a skilled pro via Yelp or free-lancing sites (or by asking me for a name) who may charge less than $20 to fix those little issues. It’s worth it!

4. Keywords.

What are the crucial skills, areas of expertise and designations your employers or customers will be looking for? These words and phrases need to be used appropriately throughout your profile to make it relevant. This helps your profile rank highly in search results when recruiters are looking for someone with qualifications like yours.  Hint: The most important keyword is your desired job title.

5. A Reasonable Degree of Completeness.

A fully developed profile is not only more engaging but will often have better search rankings. Write well-developed Summary (with special attention to the beginning, which is all that shows up unless the user clicks for more), Experience, Education and Skills sections, and don’t neglect Accomplishments (Certifications, Awards, Projects and so on). Added media such as images, PDFs or video are a plus as long as they support your brand.

One are where completeness is not helpful is to list jobs you held many, many years ago that are no longer relevant or that might subject you to age discrimination. Make a strategic choice about how far back to go.

6. A Good Photo.

The online world is very visual and becoming more so all the time. A good photo builds trust and makes you more approachable and memorable. Hire a pro, or have a friend take at least 20 shots in flattering lighting (for example, outdoors in the shade, or during the hour around sunset) and pick the best one.

7. Connections.

The more connections you have, the more chance you have getting introduced to insiders and referred into a job. Each new connection increases your odds of being at least a 3rd degree connection to any given recruiter, which makes it easier for her or him to access your profile and reach out to you.

8. Recommendations.

If an employer is interested in your resume, often their next step is to look at your LinkedIn profile for more clues about you, including social proof that you have the hard and soft skills they want. Ask for recommendations from colleagues and managers, which you can do by visiting their profile and clicking the three dots to the right of their photo. Endorsements (which show up in the Skills section) are less crucial but still useful to make the profile look good, and they may  improve your search rankings.

9. Consistency with your resume.

This doesn’t mean your LinkedIn should be identical to your resume – far from it – but the two should never contradict each other. Prospective employers may be suspicious when a job is omitted from your resume but included on LinkedIn, for example.

10. Good Choices in the Privacy Settings.

Log in and click the drop-down arrow under the tiny picture of you in the upper right-hand corner of any LinkedIn page, then select Settings & Privacy. Review and adjust your settings carefully, especially if you don’t want your current employer to know you’re looking for a new job.

Now, are there only 10 important things to know about optimizing your LinkedIn profile? Of course not. This is a good start, but why not request a free consultation to talk about your specific situation and how you can best use this powerful platform to get a great job sooner?

(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for accuracy.)

90 Days, 32 Informational Interviews, 1 Great Job

This is the true story of how Dan, a self-described introvert, harnessed the power of networking by doing three informational interviews a week, landed a six-figure job he loves – and even enjoyed many of the conversations!

How did he do it? I interviewed Dan to find out.

What was he looking for?

In 2016 Dan (not his real name) was unemployed, except for some sporadic consulting work. But given his strong track record as a manager and individual contributor in various nonprofit organizations, he didn’t feel desperate. Dan was looking for “the right job, not just any job.”

His requirements included the following:

  • A salary of $100K or more.
  • No relocation or long commute.
  • A motivating mission at a large nonprofit, educational institution, government organization or ethical startup.
  • A talented team.
  • The opportunity to be “an educator, not just an administrator.”

Why informational interviews?

Although he did some online job search, Dan decided that informational interviews would help him pinpoint the right opportunity. “I wanted to see what was out there and which organizations were the best to work for.”

How did he get 32 people to make time for him?

He let go of the idea that any particular meeting had to lead to a job. Instead, he decided to approach the conversations “in a spirit of curiosity, or as if I were a reporter.”

“That made it very low-pressure for the people I was talking to, as well as for me,” he said, adding with a laugh, “People like talking about themselves. Who knew?”

“It was really important to get introductions. Yes, I did some cold reach-outs, but mostly it was a matter of reconnecting with people I’d known in the past and hadn’t talked to in a while, especially people who were really smart or well-connected.”

Linkedin was a useful tool in this process. “I would look to see who was working where, or in what field. I joined a couple of relevant groups and then I looked up people in my network who were connected to any of these groups.” This made it easier to reach out to these people, who were now fellow group members.

What kind of questions did Dan ask?

He asked his interviewees about their background, how they got started in their career and job, and what they liked and didn’t like about it.

Going beyond the standard informational interview questions, he also asked them about specific organizations he was interested in. Had they heard news about the organizations and what was going on with them – growth, change, etc.? How did people get hired there? Did this person recommend working there, or warn against it? Often a contact would introduce him to someone connected to an organization that interested him.

Was this whole process easy or hard? Fun or not?

I asked Dan whether he’s an extroverted person who loves reaching out and meeting lots of people. The answer was – no!

“I am absolutely an introvert,” he said. “I had to force myself. I set a numeric goal: at least three info interviews a week.”

The first couple of interviews were the hardest, so he started with easy ones first: former work friends and a mentor. Once he had a few of these meetings under his belt it got easier.

“There were fun moments. I had a lot of great conversations. It was interesting to hear about people’s career journeys. People really opened up.”

“And it got me out of the house and kept my spirits up.”

How did all these info interviews lead to his current job?

Ultimately a contact introduced him to an executive at an outstanding organization he had admired for quite some time.

“I had to ping [the executive] three times before she got back to me. Finally I had a great 15-minute phone conversation with her as she was unloading groceries, and then a few weeks later she sent me a listing for a consulting job. That ended up being my source of income for six months, and finally turned into the job I have now.”

Dan now works in an organization he has long wanted to join, doing work he loves, with the strong educational focus that’s important to him.

How did he feel about starting as a consultant?

The words “consultant” or “contract” raise a shudder of discouragement from many job seekers. I asked Dan how he felt about taking this role.

“Well, I didn’t want to be a contractor; it was a little uncomfortable and strange. But oddly enough, now as I look back on it I sometimes think ‘Hey, it was nice to work from home in my pajamas.”

Is Dan’s story unusual?

It may seem like 32 informational interviews are a lot, but that’s only about three a week for three months. Other job seekers have filled their schedules with one or two meetings daily, with the result of becoming employed within a few weeks.

Conclusion

Informational interviews are a form of networking, which is the fastest way to get a job. Not to mention the fact that the word-of-mouth opportunities you discover are often better jobs those that are advertised!

Three 15-Minute Job Search Projects for Labor Day Weekend

With summer vacations ending, companies will be increasing the pace of their hiring activities. Here are a few small yet powerful things you can do to boost your job search momentum in 15 minutes each – less than an hour out of your Labor Day weekend.

Network at those barbecues and parties – but do it the smart way. Make a list of companies you might want to work for (you can do a quick-and-dirty, top-of-your-head list in five minutes, although eventually you’ll want to build it out to the recommended 40-50 employers). Then mention it to people you talk to over the weekend. Instead of asking people whether they know of any openings – which is usually a very short and sad conversation ending with “No, but I’ll keep you in mind” – ask questions about your target companies:

“Did you know I’m looking for a new job as a (whatever)? I’ve got a list of companies I’m interested in, like X, Y and Z. I’m trying to learn more about them, and not just what I can find out online. Do you have any advice?” Depending on who you ask, you may end up with some useful leads.

Make a plan to improve your resume and other job search materials, even if you don’t have time to work on it now. Get the ball rolling by buying a smart, up-to-date book like Modernize Your Resume by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark.

Or spend a few minutes searching online for a good resume writer. Look for someone with experience, formal training, glowing recommendations on LinkedIn and/or Yelp, and certification by one of the major professional associations (listed in alphabetical order): Career Directors International, Career Thought Leaders, the National Resume Writers Association or the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Contact your top three candidates and ask for a free consultation.

Or contact me for a referral. I rarely write resumes myself, but I know who’s good out there, and will be happy to make an introduction.

Start getting ready for phone interviews, which can happen unexpectedly. A “quick chat” with a human resources person can happen anytime if you’ve submitted a resume, and even if you haven’t, since recruiters are increasingly trolling through LinkedIn and other online sources to find likely candidates. Look into interview coaches (the advice in the previous paragraph applies here, too, and of course I myself provide interview coaching services), or get a book for a frugal, DIY approach. My own Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview is a steal at $4.99 for eBook, $10.99 for paperback – and Forbes said it’s “Excellent,” by the way.

An added plus is that preparing for interviews will boost your confidence and readiness for networking conversations. And because you’ll be coming up with stories about your work accomplishments, you may discover new material to improve your resume as well.

After you’ve spent 15 minutes on one or more of these projects, pat yourself on the back, forget about job search, get outside and enjoy some sunshine! Exercise and fun will replenish the energy you need to take your next steps. Good luck!

A Job Search Tool that Saves You Lots of Time!

If you’re looking for a new job, you’re probably sick and tired of the tedious, time-consuming process of filling out online job applications and uploading your resume. Let me tell you about an excellent job search tool that automates all that, easily and inexpensively.
It’s a job search virtual assistant technology called Fridayd. The company states it saves an average of 40 hours per month for users, and I can believe it. That’s extra time you can use for interview preparation, networking – or spending quality time with the people and activities you love.

 

Here’s what Fridayd does:

  • Provides a list of current job openings curated to your preferences. This is far more customized than any saved search you can create on a job board.
  • Helps you find networking contacts related to the openings.
  • Applies to the jobs you select. (You have a lot of choices at this point, such as which resume version to use.)
  • Allows you to request a phone call with a Fridayd employment specialist – a live human! – if you need one-on-one help.
  • Tracks your job search activities.
  • And more. It’s really quite robust and flexible.
  • I haven’t experimented with it extensively but it seems user-friendly as well. You upload your resume and cover letter, and fill in a lot of information up front – one time – so Fridayd can complete a wide range of applications and forms for you.

What does it cost?

Standard account: $49/mo.

Premium: $79/mo. $63/mo. if you sign up through me.

Can I get you a special deal? Yes.

Sign up now through this link, and make sure you include my name on the registration form, to get a free no-risk 14-day trial on either plan, plus a discounted $63/mo. rate if you choose Premium).

Is this affiliate marketing? Do I get a cut? Yes and yes. But I’m extremely selective about selling anything but my own services – in fact, this is the first time I’ve ever done so. I heard about Fridayd through my membership in the respected professional association Career Directors International as well as a few fellow career coaches whose clients have used the tool and really liked it. I only regret not spreading the word sooner. If you have questions, contact me or write directly to the Fridayd team: info@fridayd.com.

I would love to hear about your experiences with this powerful job search tool! I think it will make your life easier.

 

 

5 More Reasons Your Resume Didn’t Get You an Interview

In last week’s post I pointed out five ways your resume can fall into that mysterious black hole in the HR department. Here are five more ways your resume can crash. Don’t let it happen!

Maybe you never heard back because…

…your resume wasn’t ATS-friendly. Many common types of formatting can cause your resume to be misread by applicant tracking systems, including: putting crucial information in headers and footers (which are ignored by the ATS), using a Word template, sending a PDF rather than a Word document (and .doc is still generally safer than .docx, by the way), putting a credential after your name, or using a “functional” format where job titles and companies are not immediately followed by descriptive content. Or maybe…

…it didn’t have the right key words. Both for the ATS and the human eye, it’s crucial to have the right keywords in your resume, especially in the job titles and descriptions. How do you know what they right keywords are? Look at the posting. Tip: The #1 most important keyword is often the job title, so if your company has given you a vague title like “Analyst II” but you’re applying for Data Analyst, write it like this: “Analyst II (Data Analyst)”.

…it didn’t fit the job. It’s usually not worth your time to apply online to jobs for which you don’t have at least 9/10 of the stated requirements, unless you have a connection.

…you don’t fit the mold. This one is painful to hear, I know. Even if you have all the qualifications, if your job history is unconventional you’re likely to be passed over. For example, if your most recent job isn’t similar to the job you’re applying for, or you’re applying at a large company when your experience is at small ones, or you’re self-employed (however successfully), employers may have a hard time imagining you in the role, and may simply move on to the next candidate.

…you didn’t have a connection (your job search strategy needs an overhaul). Any job seeker with a referral has a major advantage. In fact, all of the issues listed above can cease to be show-stoppers when you have a referral. This is why experts recommend that you spend most of your job search time cultivating referrals at the top 40 or 50 companies where you’d like to work. For tips on how to do this, read my post “How to Use Info Interviews to Get Hired Faster.”

Your resume doesn’t have to fall into a black hole. You can transform your job search practices to adapt to the realities of what works. If that feels like a huge challenge, don’t go it alone – work with a coach to plan and execute a cutting-edge search that gets your qualifications taken seriously.

5 Reasons Your Resume Fell into a Black Hole

You’ve sent your resume out for a dozen jobs this month, but it seems like it’s disappearing into another dimension because you aren’t getting calls. Sound familiar?

Chances are, one or more of the following issues applies to you. Maybe…

…you didn’t act quickly enough. Just because the job posting says “Apply by July 24” doesn’t mean they won’t already have settled on a short list by the 20th. Be the early bird.

…your resume stated what you did, but not how well you did it and what difference it made. Let’s say you planned, led and completed a project. Well yes, but lots of people could do that. Did you do it better? Was it more difficult than it sounds? Did you solve a problem that was threatening to derail the initiative, then get the project back on track to hit an outrageous 5-week deadline? If so, add that!

…your resume is hard to read. Resumes that are wordy (using five words where two would do), crowded (long sentences and paragraphs, too little white space), in a tiny font (try not to go below 10 pt.) or that look disorganized are hard to read. Like this paragraph was. (Too many parentheses.)

…you didn’t use a proofreader. Long before I became a job search coach I worked as a proofreader and copyeditor, correcting professional writers’ manuscripts. When I was done with them, nearly every page was marked with numerous corrections. Your writing is not as clean as you think.

Did you know you can hire a proofreader for less than $5 a page? You can’t afford not to. And proofread it yourself too, because nobody’s perfect.

…you only sent your resume to Human Resources. Yes, I know, you were instructed to send it there. But don’t stop there. Figure out who the hiring manager is, and send it to him directly as well – maybe with a follow-up phone call as well.

(By the way, there’s LinkedIn add-on called Hunter that helps find people’s email addresses.)

Have you solved these resume mistakes? Still not getting the interview as often as you’d like? Read the next post: “5 More Reasons Your Resume Didn’t Get You the Interview.”

The Holy Grail of Informational Interviews: Meeting with a Hiring Manager

How can you get a job interview ahead of all the competition? By doing an informational interview with manager before there’s an opening.

In my May 18 post, The Informational Interview – It’s Not a Thing! I wrote that there are three different types of informational interviews – the Career Exploration Informational, the Company Insider Conversation and the Hiring Manager Meeting. The third type is the most likely to result in a job.

If you’re thinking of pursuing such meetings, you probably have a few questions.

Won’t I get a job faster if I focus on applying to current openings?

In most cases,  no. If you have lots of well-placed contacts and can get referred into interviews, great. Otherwise, you need to develop those contacts, and it’s hard to do that at the last minute. Informational interviews allow you to build those contacts and relationships ahead of time. And as for applying to jobs without a connection, only about 20-25% of jobs are filled that way.

Why would they want to meet with me when there’s no open position?

Many hiring managers find it valuable to meet with prospective job candidates even when they don’t have an open position. Informational interviews allow them to develop a “bench” of qualified people in advance.

That way, a future opening can be filled more quickly and easily – perhaps by hiring you.

By “hiring manager,” do you mean that they’re currently hiring?

No, because if they’re currently hiring for your position you probably won’t be able to get an informational interview with them! Instead you’ll have to compete with many other candidates for a phone screening with Human Resources, then, hopefully, a job interview with the manager. Instead, talk to managers who don’t yet have an opening. Because then when they do, you’ll be way ahead of the crowd.

How do I get this kind of informational interview?

Mainly, through networking and through informationals of the type I call the Company Insider Conversation. Even if such a conversation doesn’t lead to a Hiring Manager Meeting, it may lead to a referral once there is an opening. Job seekers who keep busy having these kinds of conversations tend to get hired faster than those who spend most of their time applying to openings online.

How is the agenda different in the Hiring Manager Meeting?

In the other types of informational interviews you need to downplay the fact that you’re looking for a job in order to put your contact at ease. With the manager you should be up front about your interest in working for her. This meeting is very much like a job interview: you’ll be selling yourself as a potential candidate.

How do I do that?

Pretty much the same way you’d do that in a job interview. For example:

  • Know your key selling points and proactively bring them up. A good salesperson always knows and emphasizes the top features of their product that are most likely to excite their customer. This is so important that I devoted the first chapter of my interview preparation guide to a step-by-step process of identifying your “REV Points.” As of this writing I’m giving away that first chapter as a free gift for subscribing to this blog.
  • Make a good impression and connect well with the interviewer. Be on time, appropriately dressed (as for a job interview). Smile. Make conversation. Take a sincere interest in the manager and her department.
  • Be consultative. Ask about the department’s and company’s goals and challenges. Look for ways to be a resource.
  • Be prepared with solid answers to common interview questions like “Would you tell me about yourself?”, “Why are you interested in this company?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
  • Be ready to tell concise, clear stories that demonstrate your abilities and how you’ve made a difference for past employers.

Then what?

Follow up to ensure the manager will remember you.

  • Send a well written thank-you message within 24 hours reiterating your interest and why you’d be a good fit for future openings.
  • Keep in touch via friendly updates on a regular basis to let her know you’re still interested. Otherwise, her promise to “keep you in mind” may quickly fade from their memory. Use a system to schedule follow-ups – Outlook tasks, a contact management system like Jibberjobber or even an old-fashioned tickler file.
  • Connect on LinkedIn and other  social media as appropriate, and make a point of regularly looking through your updates and news feed for opportunities to interact.

This post concludes my series about informational interviews as an important job search tool. I hope I’ve convinced you to at least experiment with them, because they can greatly shorten the path to your next opportunity!

How to Use Info Interviews to Get Hired Faster

It’s a little-understood but abundantly proven fact: if you’re looking for a job, an intelligently executed campaign of informational interviews typically works faster than applying to jobs online.

It has been estimated that one in 12 informational interviews results in a job, making info interviewing the most powerful form of job search networking.

The reason is simple: interviews with company insiders allow you to develop relationships and insights into your target employers before a job opening ever occurs. When a job later becomes available, you’re no longer an anonymous resume in a stack of 200; you’re already a top candidate. Sometimes the job is never even posted, so you may have little or no competition.

In last week’s post I mentioned three different types of informational interviews and focused on the Career Exploration Informational. This post focuses on the Company Insider Conversation (an event that can lead to a Hiring Manager Meeting, which I’ll discuss in next week’s post). In the fourth and final post in the series, I’ll share some crucial tips for success that apply to all types of informationals.

The Company Insider Conversation

Look for opportunities to talk with almost anyone who works in a company you’re interested in working in. In this type of conversation you’ll be asking questions about the company and – very tactfully – questions that can help you navigate a path to getting hired there.

Why did I say “very tactfully”? Because it’s easy to scare off a contact – perhaps even before you’ve landed a meeting with them – by saying anything that makes them feel pressured to find you a job.

Think of it as if it were a first date. You may be hot to trot, or you may be looking to get married and have children. But you’re getting way ahead of yourself – and turning the other person off – if that’s all you can think about.

Focus on putting your company insider at ease, taking a sincere interest in the person and what he or she has to say. Enjoy having a comfortable, interesting professional discussion. There are all sorts of positive results that might – in good time – flow from this relationship, including referral to a hiring manager. But first, build relationship.

The best how-to resource I’ve found on doing this type of informational interview is The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton. Here are some questions Dalton suggests asking:

  • What trends are most impacting your business right now?
  • What surprises you most about your job?
  • What can I do right now to best prepare for a career in this field/a job in this company?
  • Which projects are most common/important in your work?
  • What resources should I be sure to look into next?

Notice that the last question is very vague. That’s intentional. Of course it will be great if the answer is, “Well, you should talk to X, she’s the one who hires people like you.” But directly asking for a referral is an imposition that may damage the rapport you’re trying build, so if asked “What do you mean by resources,” be tactful and just say “Oh, any kind of information that you think might be helpful!” Website and book recommendations are common at this stage in the relationship.

“So how do I get company insiders to meet with me?”

Dalton recommends sending an email similar to this example from his book:

SUBJECT: Duke MBA student seeking your advice

Dear Mr. Jones,

My name is Brooke Franklin, and I am a first-year Duke MBA student who found your information in the Duke alumni database. May I have 20 minutes to ask you about your experience with IBM? I am trying to learn more about marketing careers at technology companies in North Carolina, and your insights would be very helpful.

I recognize this may be a busy time for you, so if we are unable to connect by mail I’ll try to reach you next week to see whether that is more convenient.

Thank you for your time.

Brooke

Dalton calls this a “five-point email” because it follows these five guidelines:

1. 100 words or less
2. No mention of jobs (in subject or body)
3. Connection goes first (mention the person who referred you or something you have in common)
4. Generalize your interest (e.g., “technology companies in North Carolina”)
5. Maintain control of the follow-up

After the meeting: the crucial importance of keeping in touch

In your job search networking you may have heard people say “I’ll keep you in mind if I hear of any openings.” The intention is nice, but the fact is they they generally will not keep you in mind – unless you follow up.

Let’s say you took the time and effort to sit down and talk with someone. You gave them information and advice. And then you never heard back. You don’t know whether they took your advice. You don’t know whether it helped. You lose interest in helping them again. And you may even feel slighted or frustrated.

Having invested some time in another person’s success, you’re rooting for them and want to know how it turns out.

So if someone has given you information, ideas, suggestions or leads, follow up. Take action on what they told you, or at least research their ideas further. Report back to them with a brief email a couple of weeks later letting them know what you did and how their advice was useful to you. If you ran into a roadblock, mention how you’re working on overcoming it.

To help pave the way for your followup message, tell them during the meeting that you’ll update them “next Thursday” or “within a couple weeks.” Obligate yourself to follow up. That way, when your update arrives you will be perceived not as “bugging” the person, but as delivering on a promise.

Of course, it also helps to send your update on time, keep it brief and avoid asking for additional favors.

Your next steps

I’ve been referring to “the company insider” in the singular, but there’s also a numbers game involved here if you want to get hired soon. The more company insiders you talk to, the more likely it is that one of these info interviews will be that “one in 12” I referred to at the start of this article, the one that leads to a job.

So, what will you do this week to arrange meetings with people in, or knowledgeable about, your target companies?

As your company insider relationships mature though additional updates and sharing of information, some of them may result in introductions to hiring managers. Congratulations! In the next post I’ll offer tips for success with that most powerful form of informational interview.