Why you should always follow up

By Katharine Swan On Thursday, March 13, 2008 At 9:56 AM

I've been reminded in the past couple of weeks how important it is to always follow up with potential clients during your job search.

There was a job listed on Craigslist a little while back that I knew I'd be perfect for. I got together a list of references and emailed the editor. Within a couple of days, I received a response saying they were interested, and would be emailing me the following week to schedule a phone interview.

I didn't hear from them, so the week after that I sent a follow-up email stating that I was still interested, and asking if they still would like to set up a phone interview. A few days later, I had one, and I just yesterday finished my first article for the magazine.

I've had other instances like that recently too. I think it goes to show that it's always a good idea to follow up if an editor or a potential client shows interest, and then disappears. I think they get tons of responses from an ad, and don't always remember which writers they originally showed interest in.

I'm not so sure you should follow up on every job you apply for — just the ones who show interest in your application. As many responses as these folks get, a lot of unsolicited follow-ups would probably get you on their sh!t lists. However, if you are exceptionally qualified for a job, it might be worth sending an unsolicited follow-up email.


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Anonymous Anonymous Says:  

Was that the job you asked to use me as a reference for? Either way, very cool. Congrats!

I always give too much thought about whether or not to follow up. There's a fine line between "professional" and "stalker" -- I don't want to put myself in the wrong group, especially when dealing with lawyers who are often very busy and/or out of town for periods of time. But I'm getting better about going ahead and following up after a week or more has gone by.

Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Yes, that's the job -- though another of my references already told me she never heard from them.

In my experience, references rarely get called when you're applying for a full-time job. I guess freelancing isn't any different.

I agree about the professional vs. stalker thing, by the way. However, I think if a potential client has already shown interest in you, following up if you don't hear from them again is a very good thing.

If you don't even get a response to your resume, on the other hand, following up might fall into that "stalker" category. :o)


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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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