OK, the dinosaurs were the biggest, baddest guys on the block; but the asteroid (I’m told) was bigger and badder. It was the little guys who survived. Yes, I’m talking about insects. Turns out these bothersome little guys can survive just about anything.
Is this a lesson for job seekers? I say “yes.” Do you think you’re the perfect candidate and take it personally when you’re rejected or do you learn from mistakes and move on? If not, you may be on your way to job search extinction. Procrastinating with your job search, even when you have had negative experiences, is like putting yourself in the path of an oncoming asteroid. You may be the perfect candidate, but if you don’t toughen up and keep moving, you may be courting disaster.
Insects are tenacious. They may be small, but they are mighty and adapt to situations more quickly and easily than larger animals. Tenacity is crucial to survive and flourish in a bad economy. (Insects are armed with hard shells; Job seekers can learn a lot from nature about tenacity.)
- Tenacity requires the discipline that will set you apart from other job seekers. As an example, after your interview and before you leave the parking lot be sure to write down the specifics of each interview. This will ensure that you can write thank you letters and other job search correspondence that reinforce your candidacy. If you interviewed with more than one person you will need this information in order to write individual thank you notes to each person. Cite a specific positive for each person. You can send this by e-mail within 24 hours then follow up with snail mail to make a lasting impression.
- Follow up with the hiring decision-maker but not so often that they feel that you are stalking them. If you are not offered the job, but would still like to work for that company, let them know that you still have an interest. After your thank you letter if you don’t hear back, follow up in one to two weeks after the interview to check on the status of your application. Continue to follow-up on a monthly basis.
I once worked for a large military contractor. As a recruiter, I was responsible for recruiting both professionals and non-professionals. The loading dock was often the point of entry for the plant. Usually these positions went to the offspring of current employees. One young man, however, really wanted to work for the company and kept in touch every few months to let me know of his interest. At last a job came open on the loading dock, and I went to bat for him by pointing out his motivation and persistence in meeting his personal goals. He was offered the job two weeks later.
The moral of the story is to be persistent in your job search, but don’t agonize if you don’t land a job. Check back on a regular basis with your contacts to demonstrate your strong desire to work for that organization…just don’t do it so often that you turn off potential employers.Opening Windows to Your Career Success!
Dumont Gerken Owen, Ph.D