It’s been 5 months since millions of college graduates walked in commencement ceremonies all across the country this past spring. If you are one of those grads who haven’t landed a job yet, take heart. Experts say the average length of a job search for a new grad is running around 6-9 months. Don’t get too comfortable with that statistic though since, the other reality is that HR Executives in a Hayden Wilder survey, said that 85% of entry level candidates are just not prepared for the job search process.
So, although it is reasonable that it is taking you some time to land a job, you don’t want to delay the process because you are executing a bad job search. It is true that your resume and job interview skills are the anchors in a successful job search. However, there is another key component, often overlooked. It is the job search follow up. Job search follow up is not just about sending a thank you letter after the job interview. Job search follow up is about keeping your word throughout the entire process. If you have graduated and you are job hunting and looking to start that perfect career, your job search follow up strategy has to be consistent, professional and timely.
If you are failing at job search follow up in these areas, take steps to improve while you are still in the 6-9 month, new grad hiring window.
Follow up on Referrals
If someone who wants to help you in your search gives you the name of a hiring manager or HR recruiter; follow up and make the connection. Make connection with this new person and establish your own relationship. Be sure to acknowledge who referred you. Reach out to them on a professional social networking site such as LinkedIn as well.
Follow up with Research
Many college career centers will give college seniors a list of companies that are hiring new graduates. New college graduates must follow up by doing the required research on the list of organizations and apply for positions of interest. If these companies are interviewing on campus and you don’t follow up, you will definitely miss opportunities.
Follow up on “homework” assignments
Career coaches will often give job seekers “homework”. These are assignments that if completed will help a candidate move to the next step. Whether this homework is to complete a career assessment, do an informational interview, draft a first resume or read an article completion; follow through is important.
Follow up with business cards
If you collect business cards at a public event be it job fair, a MeetUp or an open house at a local organization, try to follow up within 48 hours after the meeting.
Follow up after the Job Interview
Job interview follow up can be in the form of a phone call, voice mail, an email, even a written letter or card or connecting via social media. Regardless of which format you choose to use, keep your message positive and professional.
Follow up with Gratitude
Once you do land your first job and begin your career path, thank everyone who helped you to get to this point. Connect with your college career center or professors and let them know what you are doing. Thank the HR managers who may have referred you to the next level. Thank friends and family for their support and set up a schedule to keep in touch with these folks in six months or so. These people could be important again later on in your career and who knows, you might be able to give them a hand in their own professional journey.