In the last section we discussed how your client can take their selling points and make them into facts so their potential employers can see that they can do the job.
In this section we will discuss how your client who is looking for a job can use the side door approach of follow-up contact to get an interview with a potential employer.
Marisa, who was mentioned in the previous sections, was getting discouraged about not getting hired as she tried to contact companies in which she had an interest. I stated to Marisa, "There may be less conventional ways to get in contact with companies in which you have an interest. I call these side door approaches."
Side Door Approaches:
Side doors are techniques for meeting and impressing the person who can make the final decision on whether your client gets hired for the job. These techniques are used before your client submits his or her resume or even ask for a job. While side door techniques require more effort, most other job seekers don’t use them because they require more effort. Because of this, managers often like them because it shows who is willing to make the most effort.
In this section we will discuss follow-up contact because this may be an effective way for your client to express his or her selling point facts that we discussed in our last section. The four forms of follow-up contact I discussed with Marisa are letter, email, internet and phone calls.
When writing a follow-up letter to a company in which your client is interested, the letter would best be addressed directly to the decision maker by name, not just their title. In the letter, your client might want to include his or her top four to six reasons he or she would be an asset. These can be accomplishments, praises from past employers, or an explanation of why your client wants to work in this job or this company.
I stated to Marisa, "Make sure to include appropriate contact information. End your letter by asking if these skills are something the company is looking for in an employee and whether they believe you would be an asset to the company. Keep your letter to one page. Not including your resume will increase the chances of your letter actually being read by the decision maker and not just passed off to HR."
A follow-up email is a shorter form of a follow-up letter.
A follow-up email should be sent to the same email address listed in the ad. Sending an email to an employer’s personal email address can be construed as being a nuisance, being overly assertive or overly aggressive.
In Marisa’s email to a potential employer, I suggested she send a follow-up email a week after responding to the ad. The first sentence would say "I am writing in regards to my resume sent XXX date for the job entitled XX. As indicated on my resume, my position provided me with skills and experience such as ‘self-started’ and ‘attention to details’. I look forward to answering any questions you may have. Thank you for your consideration in this matter, Marisa XX, (certification or educational initials)."
Six key points in a follow-up email
1. Timing: Send it one week after initial resume has been sent.
2. First sentence should reference your previous resume, the date it was sent, and the position for which your client applied.
3. The second sentence could use exact words from the employer’s ad and reference a job title on your client’s resume in which these skills would apply.
4. The last sentence could be an open-ended statement such as "I look forward to answering any questions you may have."
5. The close should be formal, for example, "Thank you for your consideration in this matter"
6. The client should use their formal name along with any legitimate credentials. For example, Marisa had a two year business degree. Her certification initials were A.A., Associate of Art. I suggested she put associate of art in parenthesis after AA. Clearly acronyms after names add credibility. Just make sure your client uses all legitimate credential indicators.
Follow-up Internet Connection - "Have a beer!?"
Often clients can make connections with potential employers through sites such as Linked In or even Twitter. We have previously addressed creating a professional LinkedIn profile and a professional internet presence. I stated to Marisa, "If a potential employer accepts your request to connect, send a brief and friendly greeting. The internet can be very informal so make sure that all of your tweets, messages, and posts are professional in quality and attitude." Clearly if your client has a photo on social media holding a beer in their hand, no matter what their credentials this negative impression will be hard to overcome.
Unsolicited Phone Calls
In my opinion unsolicited phone calls can be considered only as a last resort. Your client may be construed as being too pushy or aggressive. However, if they have submitted a resume and a week later sent a brief follow-up email, suggested above, the following week they may consider a phone call to "check on the status of their application." Keep in mind an unsolicited phone-call to a potential employer is taking up the time of that employer and interrupting the flow of his or her work. Prepare your client for the stress that a rebuff might bring.
If your client talks with the potential employer or HR person, your client needs to
1. introduce himself or herself
2. Reference the resume and job title, since more than one position may be available.
3. Share his or her top three reasons why he or she would be an asset to the company. I feel it crucial you must use words from the ad. Be sure to have employment ad there for easy referencing of key words in the ad.
Do you have a client who you think might benefit from role playing a phone call with a potential employer they have not heard back from after submitting a resume?
When Marisa and I role played a phone conversation with a potential employer I stated to her afterwards, "Try to keep your conversation short because your potential employer is probably very busy. If you are able to leave a voice message, you may want to use a script and speak as if you were talking with him or her directly. Make sure to repeat slowly your name and contact information at the end of your message so he or she can get back to you."
Follow-up Walk-in – "Be genuine"
I have found that follow-up walk-ins can best be used when the public has direct access to the company’s manager such as hotels, restaurants, insurance companies, and so on. If your client is unsure how to approach a follow-up walk in, encourage him or her to ask questions such as "What is the status of the job?" or "This seems like a great place to work. How does someone get on the team here?" Only use the second approach if your client feels that the hotel or restaurant is a great place to work because the person with whom they are talking may retort "Why would you say that?" SO prior to using the "great place to work" approach, have your client search inside themselves and ask "IS there anything I see that I feel it would be a great place to work?" For example, they might reply, "I’ve eaten here several times and I love your XX and XX happens to be my favorite thing to make.
Note about all forms of follow-up contact…
It is important to emphasize to your client that in all of these forms of follow-up contact, your client is not asking for a job. You may want to mention to your client that the point of the follow-up contact is to show potential employers how he or she can be an asset to the company.
I stated to Marisa, "By inquiring about being hired, it sends the message that your concern is yourself and getting a paycheck. I find it beneficial to try and avoid asking specifically for a job whenever you follow-up try to contact potential employers." Your main goal is to use words from the employers ads and briefly mention experience and or education parallel to these words.
In this section we discussed how your client who is looking for a job can use the side door approach of follow-up contact to get an interview with a potential employer. The five forms of follow-up contact we discussed are letter, email, internet connection, phone calls, and walk-in. With a letter, it is important for your client to address the letter directly to the decision maker by name. With an email, your client may find it helpful to treat it is a shorter form of a follow-up letter.
Encourage your client to make sure that their online image on social media is professional when they attempt to make follow-up contact through the internet. For a follow-up phone call, if your client has to leave a voice message it may be helpful to him or her to have a script formed to make sure he or she includes all he or she wants to say. Finally, your client may want to follow-uply walk-in if he or she is interested in a company in which there is public access to the manager such as a hotel.
In the next section we will discuss the eleven keys your client can use to build his or her workplace power once they get hired
MacDougall 68- 77.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
van Hooft, E. A. J., Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D., Wanberg, C. R., Kanfer, R., & Basbug, G. (2020). Job search and employment success: A quantitative review and future research agenda. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.
O'Neill, T. A., Law, S. J., McCarthy, J. M., & Jelley, R. B. (2018). Test-taking motivation in promotional employment re-examinations. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, 50(2), 71–76.
Vernale, M. A. III, Larson, J. E., & Van De Kreeke, D. M. (2010). An employment model to increase employment rates and reduce recidivism for parolees with mental illness. The Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim Treatment and Prevention, 2(3), 161–170.
What are the five forms of follow-up contacts your client may use to talk with potential employers?
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