Tips for staying in touch with a prospective employer

March 24, 2010 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

One of the toughest parts of searching for a job — both for those without a job and those looking to land a different job — is figuring out how to stay in touch with a hiring manager or recruiter without becoming an annoying pest. Not only is waiting difficult, but it’s tough to know just how often to be in touch — and what form of communication is most effective.

First, you’ll need to accept the fact that your timetable almost certainly is different than your prospective employer’s. (See Feb. 23 post on “How to handle that deafening silence.”) While this potential job has your full attention, you as a candidate very likely are only one of many, many things on the hiring manager’s mind. Yet even while waiting is an important tool in a job seeker’s arsenal, polite, persistent communication is another — most managers don’t mind (and some even welcome) hearing from strong candidates. That persistence, especially for a journalism position, can win you points with a hiring manager but again, only if handled properly.

Here are some tips on how to effectively stay in touch:

*Follow up within a day after an interview or even a brief meeting. This is one of the best times to be in touch with the hiring manager and start an ongoing conversation about your skills and fitness for the position. Always send a thank you note to anyone who interviewed you for any length of time — as I’ve noted before an email thank you note is perfectly appropriate. (If you have nice, legible handwriting, a written note on nice stationery is also a nice touch, but again only if your handwriting is good.) In the note  you can state that you’d like to be in touch about the job and even ask the hiring manager how they’d like to hear from you. Also, briefly restate the skills and experience that make you a good candidate for this position. That’s a good start to a conversation going forward.

*Employers often will tell you to check back “in a few weeks” if you haven’t heard back from them by then. Do so. Every two weeks (or so) send an email reminding them of your interest in the position. If you have some fresh clips from a free-lance project or perhaps a story you wrote some time ago that has again become relevant because of news events, attach it and give a little explanation of why you’re including it. Keep your candidacy front and center in the hiring manager’s mind. Watch how they respond. If they respond favorably, keep it up. If they don’t or they seem off-putting — saying they don’t know “when” they’re going to fill the position or other language that makes it sound like they don’t want to hear from you — then reconsider how serious they are about your candidacy. Many people I know landed jobs after months and months of staying in touch with an organization — and their persistence eventually paid off.

*Don’t call unless a hiring manager has specifically told you it’s okay to be in touch by phone. There’s a reason most job listings say “No phone calls please” — hiring managers get overwhelmed by phone calls. Being a persistent caller is also a top way to gain a label as an annoying pest. Further, it’s tough for job hunters — unless they are very practiced at leaving phone messages — to sound upbeat and confident in a message, often they can sound desperate or pleading, not the impression you want to leave with a prospective employer. Also, be careful with other forms of communication besides email. Don’t send text messages or use Facebook to stay in touch with a hiring manager unless they specifically request you do so. Don’t “friend” them on Facebook or try to connect with them on LinkedIn during the hiring process, this can be a big turnoff. And don’t send sloppy emails with typos — make sure all of your correspondence with a potential employer is polite, self-edited and businesslike. You’re still on trial at any point in the hiring process.

*Help others help you stay in touch with a prospective employer. Ask those who helped you make initial contact with the organization to drop your name (favorably, of course!) every once in a while and see what happens. Use your network to keep your candidacy fresh. The more you’re mentioned positively, the better. But encourage your contacts also to be careful to be politely persistent and not to cross the line into annoyance. Remember, the No. 1 pet peeve of recruiters and hiring managers is “stalker” job seekers who just won’t leave them alone.

*Though there are certainly a few qualifiers in this piece on marketwatch.com, there is plenty of good FUTURE employment news here:

Worker shortage
is on the way

*And some good leads to pursue right now:

*The Labor Department has an opening in D.C. for a writer-editor:
Writer-Editor
Labor, Office of Assistant Secretary Admin & Mgmt – Washington, DC
position is a Writer/Editor in HRC, responsible for a… information 2. Computer and technology skills 3. Communication skills NOTE: All of the information that… $89,033 – $115,742 a year
From usajobs.gov

*Another government agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has an opening in Bethesda for a writer-editor:

WRITER/EDITOR
Consumer Product Safety Commission – Bethesda, MD
Bethesda, MD This position serves as a Writer/Editor, providing advice and assistance to the Executive… written materials, 2)training others on policy and… $89,033 – $115,742 a year
From usajobs.gov

*The Magazine Group (TMG) has two positions open in D.C.; the first for a consulting editor:
Consulting Editor
tmg – Washington, DC
seeking a seasoned editor who has edited a business… on a freelance basis with the magazine’s managing editor and the association editorial staff. He or she…
From tmg

*TMG also has an opening in D.C. for a digital director:

Digital Director
tmg – Washington, DC
demonstrated experience in new media and digital communications plus a thorough understanding of on-line… oral and written communications skills. Bachelor’s…
From tmg

*Providence Hospital in D.C. is looking for a director of public relations:

Dir – Public Relations – Internal Job
Providence Hospital – Washington, DC
communications, relationship building and image enhancing programs that link the hospital and its publics. This is achieved through various communications and…
From Providence Hospital

*With a hat tip to journalismjobs.com (for these next several listings), the Weider History Group in nearby Leesburg, Va., is looking for a magazine editor:

Company: Weider History Group
Position:
Midlevel Magazine Editor
Location:
Leesburg, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
April 16, 2010
Job ID: 1156036

Description:
The world’s largest publisher of history magazines seeks a smart, energetic midlevel editor. Wide-ranging duties include story editing, copyediting, fact checking, and production of a 6-times-a-year newsstand magazine, working closely with a small, seasoned team of design and editorial professionals to put out one of Weider’s premier titles. Ideal candidates will have a degree in and/or deep interest in history or journalism and have 2–5 years of consumer magazine editing or related experience; experience with Web publishing applications a plus. The position offers unlimited growth for the right person.

This is a full-time, non-virtual position, located in our new offices in Leesburg, Virginia, with a competitive salary and benefits, and a fun, creative environment. Weider History Group is an equal opportunity employer.

Please email a cover letter (including salary requirements) and resume to Bill.Horne@weiderhistorygroup.com No phone calls please.

*For someone who doesn’t mind working nights, the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown needs a night city editor:

Company: The Herald-Mail Company
Position:
Nighttime City Editor
Location:
Hagerstown, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
April 26, 2010
Job ID: 1158251

Description:
The Herald-Mail, a 30,000-circulation daily newspaper, is seeking a nighttime city editor. This person will run the newsroom at night, supervising editors, reporters and photographers. The successful candidate will be a skilled manager and excellent copy editor who can coach staff and improve copy, with a focus on crafting good ledes, plugging holes in stories and making sure all stories are complete, accurate and fair. This editor also must have sound news judgment, a sharp eye for proofing pages, and the ability to multitask, think fast, solve problems and react decisively to respond to breaking news and keep the Web site up to date, all while overseeing production of news pages. Thorough knowledge of libel/privacy laws is required. This person needs to have excellent writing, reporting and editing skills. As one of the newsroom leaders, this editor also must be dedicated, ethical, fair, analytical, conscientious and driven, with both people skills and the ability to hit deadlines. Knowledge of InDesign and PhotoShop is preferred, but not required. The normal workweek for this position is Tuesday through Saturday, 3 p.m. to midnight, with other days and hours as needed. Interested applicants should e-mail a cover letter, resume and clips to news@herald- mail.com, or mail application materials to Executive Editor; The Herald-Mail Company; P.O. Box 439; Hagerstown, MD 21740.

*And to wrap up today’s leads, the Dundalk Eagle, a weekly newspaper in Baltimore County, is looking for a copy desk writer/editor…This could be a good starting job for someone wanting to get some journalism experience:

Company: Dundalk Eagle
Position:
Copy desk writer/editor
Location:
Dundalk, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 22, 2010
Job ID: 1157318

Description:
Southeast Baltimore County weekly newspaper is looking for a full-time copy desk writer. Duties include writing obituaries, rewriting copy submitted for publication and possibly writing occasional bylined articles. Proofreading/copy-editing skills and familiarity with Dundalk/Edgemere preferred. Compensation mid-$20K, depending on experience and skill level. Medical/dental benefits available. Send resume and clippings to Steve Matrazzo, The Dundalk Eagle, P.O. Box 8936, Dundalk, MD 21222.

No phone calls, please.

Good luck on the hunt today!

Jodi

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