Following up: A key to success in a job hunt

May 20, 2010 at 11:41 am 1 comment

An email correspondent recently wrote me a thank-you note for some advice on networking (also heeding my advice on thank-you notes!), but added that she often has trouble with follow-up after an initial networking contact or an informational interview. It seems so false, she said, just to send a “thanks, let’s get together again” note, and other notes weeks or months later, and wonders if that’s a terribly effective way to stay in touch.

Many job hunters, who otherwise handle the tasks of job hunting well, falter when it comes to the all-important follow-up. Especially if you are networking with busy people (see April 26 post, “How to network with the well-networked”) they typically aren’t going to get back in touch with you unless you give them a good, specific reason to do so. Job hunters need to develop strategies for following up after key meetings in their search, or those contacts will do them little good in the long run.

Here are some tips for effective follow-up:

*Adhere to the 24-hour rule. After making any key connection — a networking meeting with a new contact, an informational interview, meeting someone at an event with whom you felt you connected — send an email note within 24 hours. If you wait longer than this you may well forget to do it and by writing right away to the person, you signal that you are interested in them and take this connection seriously. That’s impressive; they are more likely to be in touch with you in the future if they feel you’re serious. In this note, tell them (without seeming false or overly effusive) you enjoyed meeting them, thank them if they took time out to see you and re-establish your connection. If you haven’t been specific about what you’re looking for in a job search, this is a good time to do so. But never come right out and ask for a job; that’s always a big turnoff — both in writing and in person.

*Keep contacts in the loop at various stages of your search. People are more likely to cheer you on and find ways to help if you regularly stay in touch. Don’t expect busy people to check up every few weeks to see how your search is going. Instead, clue them in. Good times to do this are when you’ve had a key interview with an organization (especially if they referred you there), when you’ve landed an important freelance or contract assignment (again, especially if they helped you get it) and when you finish an assignment and have something to show them. Thank references for their support in talking to an organization on your behalf, even when you didn’t get the job. (You want them to be there for you the next time.) And even if you’re not feeling great about your search, try to focus on your progress and seek to project optimism. People like to help winners and those they feel will succeed; it’s just human nature to be in the cheering section for a team that stands a chance of winning!

*Stay in touch with organizations and hiring managers even if you are not a candidate for a current position. Many job candidates fade from the picture as soon as they learn they haven’t landed a specific position with a company. Yet many people are rejected (sometimes several times) by an organization before they are hired there — so if a hiring manager gives you any indication that you should stay in touch, do so. One email correspondent had a good tip in a recent post (See May 10 post, “How little things can make a big difference in a job hunt”): to write a letter of thanks even after you’ve been rejected for a job. This can show a hiring manager that you’re truly interested in working for the company and would make them more likely to consider you for future openings.

*Send links. A great way to follow-up with key contacts is to provide them with links to some of your recent work — this keeps them in the loop but also gives you a chance to showcase your recent efforts. But don’t just focus on your work. If you see an article or some data that you think they’d appreciate (and are unlikely to have seen elsewhere), send it along. You’ll show that your relationship isn’t just a one-way street — that you want to help them in their career even as they are assisting you in your job hunt. That’s what effective follow-up is all about.

*A coupla potential opportunities to check out:

*The National Press Foundation is accepting applications for the 2010-2011 Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowships…This is a terrific way for those with reporting experience to enhance it with Washington-specific expertise…Many Miller fellows have gone on to bigger and better things in Washington! Application details follow in this link:

The National Press Foundation – Programs

*I’m not including this among the job leads as it is far from the D.C. area, but this could be a good opportunity for someone in transition looking for an adventure. Internews Network is looking for a senior journalism adviser to lead a project in Rwanda. The objective of the program is to increase support among decision-makers for effective health and population policies and programs by strengthening the capacity of media to provide quality coverage. For more information:

*Here are some D.C. area leads to peruse and pursue:

*The Primary Group in Alexandria is looking for a director of marketing communications:
Director of Marketing Communications
The Primary Group – Alexandria, VA
a Director of Marketing Communications to develop marketing communications and strategic programs based on… management marketing communications in a retail…
From The Primary Group

*Kaiser Permanente has an opening in Rockville for a senior communications consultant:

Senior Communications Consultant(Job Number: 027458)
Kaiser Permanente – Rockville, MD
complex communications consultation, communications… verbal communications or advice on communications issues to providing customized communications materials…
From Kaiser Permanente

*Liquidity Services in D.C. has an opening for a director of corporate communications and investor relations:
Director, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations
Liquidity Services, Inc. – Washington, DC
of all external communications activities for LSI… agency or corporate communications environment Excellent judgment and communication skills in handling…
From CareerBuilder

*The National Journal Group in D.C. is looking for a senior-level events editor; this could be a good opportunity for a journalist seeking to use their skills in a new way:


Atlantic Media Company, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the parent company of The Atlantic, National Journal and Government Executive magazines. Our publications reach an audience of over one million influential decision makers in the Washington policy community and across the nation.

The Atlantic Media Company is seeking a senior-level Events Editor to develop content and new partnerships for the National Journal Group’s event business. This position will require skills in both editorials conceptualization, talent booking, event execution, and sales, marketing and research in order to identify viable event partnerships.

Major Responsibilities Include:

  • Lead content development for client/partner events including conferences, dinners, and speaker forums (in full collaboration with senior colleagues)
  • Lead ‘high touch’ recruitment of all of the preceding within specific process deadlines
  • Understand client/partner issues, objectives and goals and how they relate to event content
  • Attend all such events and serve as an ambassador for Atlantic Media demonstrating poise, professionalism and full dedication to meeting client’s/partner’s event goals
  • Prepare written summaries or event overviews following all events where the client/partner so desires
  • Represent the ‘event editing’ function to prospective clients/partners as part of the sales and marketing process (in coordination with sales representatives who have principal relationship responsibility)’inspire informed confidence on the part of the prospective client/partner in Atlantic Media Company’s ability to execute
  • Reports to Vice President, National Journal Events

Qualifications of Ideal Candidate:

  • Acute understanding of political arena and the ‘business’ of Washington, D.C.
  • Deep, bi-partisan contacts within the D.C. speaker circuit
  • Minimum of 7-10+ years experience in media and politics
  • Strong time-management and organizational skills, with ability to successfully manage multiple projects with varying deadlines simultaneously
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Negotiation / brokering skills
  • Extensive knowledge of national and local current events, newsmakers and policy issues
  • Ability to foster senior level client relationship and forge strong connections with strategic partners
  • Capacity to work independently and under pressure, and to meet tight deadlines


*For someone still in need of a summer internship, here’s a good opportunity in D.C. (with a stipend) — Inside Higher Ed needs at least one intern to join its reporting staff this summer:

Inside Higher Ed, a national daily publication with 650,000 unique monthly visitors, is seeking at least one intern to join its reporting staff for the summer. The online publication, based in Washington, D.C., publishes breaking news, features, commentary and other content every weekday. Candidates should have at least two years of college journalism experience, ideally at a daily, and preferably some professional internship experience as well. Interns will be paid a monthly stipend. Applicants should send a cover letter, resume and five strong clips to or to this address: Intern search, Attn: Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, 1320 18th Street, N.W., Fifth Floor, Washington, DC 20036.

*The Washington Post in D.C. is looking for a politics Web producer, but if interested you better get busy, the application deadline is this Friday, May 21:

Politics Producer Position, Washington Post

We are looking for a web producer for the PostPolitics team. The ideal
candidate will be able to juggle multiple tasks in a fast-paced
environment and demonstrate a keen understanding of politics and policy that would
appeal to a smart and engaged audience. The candidate also must have
strong technical skills, including knowledge of HTML, Photoshop and Movable
Type. The politics web producers, who are led by Rachel Weiner, are
Responsible for driving traffic to the politics pages through headlines, story
selection, linking and reaching out to relevant sites. The PostPolitics
team is part of the Universal News Desk. If you are interested, please
contact Sandy Sugawara (334-4588), R.B. Brenner (334-7461), Rachel
Weiner (334-9597) or Peter Perl (334-6188) by May 21.

*And to wrap up today’s leads, The Washington Independent in D.C. is looking for a political reporter:

Good luck on the hunt!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Acknowledging flaws can help your job search What in a cover letter makes managers cheer or cringe

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Derek Wallbank  |  May 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I completed the Paul Miller Fellowship this year and found it very helpful. I’d encourage any new D.C. reporter to take advantage of the opportunity.


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