Everybody talks about meeting new people and renewing old contacts as a way to uncover job leads. But after you speak to someone about your job search, then what? You follow-up with them later, that's what.
Follow-up is an often-neglected part of networking that can pay off huge in your search for work--as much as $417 an hour, as we'll see. To motivate you to follow up with your network contacts--all of them--here are two recent success stories from my readers. What can you learn from each?
1. Follow-up with old contacts
Lynda H., from Apple Valley, Minnesota, interviewed with a Fortune 500 company in Minneapolis last year. They offered her a job, but rescinded when the departing employee, whose position Lynda was to fill, decided not to quit after all. What would you have done?
Here's what Lynda did: "I included people from past job searches in my current search, including one company I interviewed with a year ago. Getting back in touch with them was as simple as picking up the phone and calling the executive I had talked to last year. It turned out that he had assumed more responsibilities, and the position they were hiring for now reported to him. Because I had developed a rapport with him last year, it was easy to get my resume to the top of the pile, schedule the interview and land the job!"
Today, write down the names of every company you interviewed with in your last job search. Then, make a plan to contact each this week to tell them about your current search, and why you're a more valuable potential employee than the last time you spoke.
What if you haven't looked for a job in five or 10 years? No problem. Find someone in your industry who has. Ask them to contact each company they interviewed with and tell them about a really sharp person they should talk with--you.
Of course, you should buy lunch for each friend who networks for you this way, but that's just another chance to sit down and do more networking!
2. Follow-up with new contacts
By following up like clockwork by e-mail and phone, Michael S., from Los Angeles, turned an employment lead into a new job. And it took all of 23 minutes.
He writes: "I had lunch with the CEO. After e-mailing him my resume and a polite note following lunch, he went silent for a week."
At this point, many folks would be too preoccupied with posting resumes online or reading the classified ads to follow up on a "cold" lead like this. But not Michael.
"Exactly one week later, I sent another polite e-mail and placed a call to the CEO one hour after sending that second follow-up email. He took the call and said things were looking very good. We talked for about three minutes," said Michael.
"He then called this afternoon (four days later) to say it's a go and to explain the terms of the job. That was a 20-minute call. Total time invested to win the job offer following the initial meeting with the CEO was 23 minutes. I would call that a strong return on investment."
And I would agree. One lunch, two e-mails and three phone calls to land a job is a terrific ROI for anyone. All you have to do is stay organized and persistent--because the vast majority of candidates competing with you are neither organized nor persistent.
How much money is a new job worth to you? Let's say $50,000 in salary. And let's say you spend 20 hours a week for six weeks following up on networking contacts before you get hired. That's 120 hours invested for a $50,000 payoff, which works out to about $417 an hour.
So, if you think you "don't have time" to follow-up on employment contacts for 20 hours a week, do you think you could find time, now that you know every hour is worth $417? Once you realize this, other uses of your time, like watching television or adding MySpace friends, suddenly seem less important, don't they?
Now, go out and make your own luck!
Kevin Donlin is creator of TheSimpleJobSearch.com. Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 11,000 people. Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio and others. His free report, The Simple Job Search Manifesto, is found at www.TheSimpleJobSearch.com