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Leveraging Contacts Part II: The Art of the Follow-up

By Cyrus David

So you have put yourself out there by calling, emailing, or meeting your contacts with the strategy we outlined in Part I of this series. Some have gotten back to you, and others you haven't heard back from. Let's say 75 percent of the people you contacted have responded -- that's pretty good, right?

But what if your dream interview opportunity lives with someone in that 25 percent that has not responded?  Tough luck?  Settle with the 75 percent that got back to you, and forget about the rest?

There are many reasons why your contacts might not have gotten back to you, and only one of them is because they don't want to.  The chance of that being the case is very slim.  We'll show you a strategy for following up with these contacts politely and effectively so that you can leverage closer to 100 percent of the job opportunities your network may have to offer.


The fact is that people are busy and forgetful.  A contact may have intended to get to your email or call at a later time, only to get even busier and eventually forget completely.  Their inbox may have never even seen the email - spam filters may have nabbed it. 


To truly maximize your job opportunities during a job search, following up is a must.  Take a step back and figure out exactly who has and hasn't gotten back to you.  Construct a list, and prepare to follow-up with the non-responders.


Now comes the tough part.  Figuring out how to follow-up and what to say can be challenging.  The number one rule is to never come off as angry or annoyed in your follow-up.  Instead, be upbeat and understanding.  Here is an example of a follow-up email and the response it received:


Hi Mr. Miller,

I am sure you are very busy, but I never heard back from you - I
completely understand if you do not have the time, but if you do I am
looking forward to hearing from you!



Hi Christie,

I am extremely sorry for having lost this message in my inbox.  I
would love to chat with you and discuss my experiences.  I am however,
traveling a lot these days and would be unable to lock down a time.
If you don't mind, can you send me your phone number and I will try to
reach you one evening this week.

Brian Miller


Note that Brian was completely willing to help, but mistakenly forgot about the email. 


Here is an example of a follow-up with a contact that you may have already been in touch with:


Hey Paul!

I hope you're enjoying your time off with your family!  I didn't hear back from you and I just wanted to make sure my email didn't find its way into your spam folder or something.  I hope to be in touch with you soon!



To master the art of the follow-up there are three important points you will need to remember:


1)      Your dream opportunity may live amongst an initial non-responder.  Failing to follow-up essentially means that you are not very passionate about finding your dream job.

2)      The main reasons that contacts fail to respond are forgetfulness, busy schedules, and spam filters -- not because they do not want to help.

3)      Always be enthusiastic and polite in follow-ups -- never seem angry or spiteful.


Now get out there and master the art of the follow-up!  Make sure to check back for Part 3 of the Leveraging Contacts series, where we'll show you how to use the contacts you have made to build a full team of support within your target company.


<<<< PREVIOUS     NEXT: Building your support team >>>>

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