The job hunting world can be a lonely place, particularly if you are ‘between jobs’. It can be very dispiriting and, paradoxically, distracting when everyone else has left the house for the day and left you on your own. These are not feelings you want when trying to stay focused on your search for a job.
A good way to avoid isolation is to keep in touch with the people in your network, including any recruitment consultants you may be dealing with. Apart from reducing loneliness, doing this helps you remain ‘visible’ and more ‘front of mind’. This, in turn, improves the chances of people recognising opportunities for you.
Balance is needed, however. It’s one thing to stay on your network’s radar. It’s quite another to become a constant annoyance. You need to remember that while you are not particularly busy at the moment, a lot of other people are. They are grinding through hours of meetings, sifting through hundreds of emails and trying to get some work done in what little time is left. Your keeping in touch efforts need to take this into account.
Here are five ideas for keeping in touch without becoming annoying:
There is nothing worse than being badgered when you’re busy. So while it can be frustrating for you to sit around and wait for the phone to ring, avoid the temptation to call or email every day for an update on that job you’ve just applied for. Be patient. Rest assured that if a consultant or company is genuinely interested in talking to you, they will do all they can to contact you. So leave your mobile on … and do something else. Follow up once a week at most and when you do so, be polite and brief.
It is good to have a reason for contacting a recruiter – a better reason than “have you heard anything?”. Once such reason is to keep them in touch with your progress. If a recruitment consultant sends you for an interview, ring them straight afterwards to tell them how it went. If you are being considered for one job and get invited for an interview for another, send the first recruiter a brief email to tell them what’s happening. And when you get a job, let everyone know!
Always remember the golden rule of networking: givers gain. In other words, keep an eye out for opportunities for others – especially recruiters. As a job seeker, you might have more information than you think. You might, for instance, know someone who would be well suited to another job the recruiter is advertising. Or you might hear of a job that someone else is having trouble filling. Any information like this could be useful to your recruiter and is worth passing on.
Newer networking tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent ways of keeping in touch with people without appearing to hector them. You post your updates and your network read them in their own time. Obviously these don’t replace other sorts of networking and keeping in touch, but you would be wise to use them as part of your formula, especially as they can expose you to a wider ‘audience’.
In all your communications, be succinct. For instance, if you can get the main point of your message into your email subject, that’s a good sign – and it increases the chances of your message getting through.
Ideally you will use a mixture of these approaches to keep others in the loop about your job search progress – and keep yourself sane at the same time.