All of us in Colorado are enjoying a very lucrative job market – we are the #2 state in the nation for jobs. The good news is that if you are looking to make a move you have choices, the bad news is that it’s harder to manage the activity while you are still fully employed.
It’s super critical to make sure you keep on top of your applications, interviews and follow up – after all, if you’re trying to navigate an upgrade in your career then you have to look like you deserve the “level up.”
- Create a tracking worksheet. This can be a simple chart with the company, position, contact names and next steps – with dates – so that you don’t let any balls drop. And more importantly, so that you can remember the important details when you receive a phone call or inquiry. It’s rather disappointing when I return a phone call to a candidate and they can’t remember why they called me.
- How to make an impression. When you find a position you are interested in, I suggest immediately applying as the posting instructs. Then, find three contacts within the company – the hiring manager, an executive within the function that the position would report to and a human resources contact. Send an email to each of them – explaining that you have applied to the position but wanted to make sure your resume was received in good order. Close your email with your intent to follow up to schedule an interview and attach your resume.
- Cover letter or no cover letter. When you apply to a position, attach only one item – your resume. If the job posting requests additional information then provide it – otherwise don’t. This requires extra time and energy that you don’t need to spend, especially if your resume clearly articulates your target position and experience.
- When to follow up. Ideally, when you have begun the interview process you will ask for the appropriate timeline for following up before you close the interview. If you haven’t begun the interview process yet, use this as a guide: 1) Email the hiring manager to check on the status of your application. 2) After five working days, follow up with a phone call to the hiring manager checking the status of your application and reinforcing your interest in the position. 3) After three more working days, send a follow up email with your interest in meeting to discuss the position. If you don’t receive a response after three attempted contacts, it’s probably time to move on.
- Follow through. If you commit to follow up – you must follow up. If you don’t want to commit to follow up then you won’t appear interested and engaged. This situation is definitely a catch-22. Each step of the selection process for a position reveals something about your character. Do you follow through on your commitments? Do you demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm? Do you show up on time? Are you prepared and is your mind sharp? Every step you take speaks to your potential as an employee – think about it.
This is an active market – some might say a seekers market. Although opportunity is plentiful, you can’t afford to be messy in your search if you really want to move forward in your career. For more ideas on strategic career management, visit us here!