Following Up On Leads
How many times have you heard “information is power?” If you agree, then hopefully it will prompt you to take a new look at how you are pursuing your job search or your efforts to advance your career.
A posted job announcement is only an inkling of the information a person needs to consider before initiating their pursuit of an employment opportunity. Although many people believe that gaining access to more job boards creates more “leads”, the following differentiation is intended to show there is more information available to gain access to the right “job”.
A lead can mean more than a “job posting”. A lead can be:
1. To a connection inside of a targeted company
2. About industry projections, changes, new developments
3. Insight about a hiring manager’s personality, style, interests
4. Information about the culture or hiring practice of a company
5. An introduction to new and important technical skills
The key to whether a lead turns into something of value is in how it is heard, received, and ultimately followed up with. It’s not surprising how many people stay stuck on hearing about “jobs” and pass over very useful information that if heeded or pursued, could be integrated into their plan for “getting a job”. On a broader scale, if you are already working, then new information can help direct your path in a more satisfying direction. It can also help you prepare for changes in the market in advance.
A lead can be any additional information, that when combined with other accumulated information, can help you make good decisions and lead you to the best course of action.
Regardless of what is received, an immediate response is required to any morsel of information, whether it involves a simple acknowledgment or requires further inquiry for clarification. A response to the sender must be immediate, regardless of the actual course of action that will follow. If more thought is needed, the sender can be told the follow-up will occur at a (specific) later date. The point is to acknowledge the information and thank the sender within 24 hours.
The next step is to establish your required action in regard to the information you received. It may require immediate action, or a later action could be more beneficial. More research may be needed. Regardless of what has to happen, the acknowledgment and a plan for follow-up needs to be determined within 24 hours (sometimes less). It isn’t going to amount to anything if it is ignored, and it will get stale if put aside for days or weeks.
If you expect to only hear about “jobs” and shut down when people are sharing other pieces of information, it is very likely you are missing key points and opportunities that could lead you in a more productive direction. Knowing more about what others are doing and what they know, helps you build a stronger and more competitive plan for getting what you want.
If an “it’s all about me” attitude prevails, it is likely you will not hear very important pieces of information (leads) that could have helped you alter your approach or change your direction.
If you have been successful taking a “nugget” of information and turning it into a successful lead, please share your experience.