While we're all applying for opportunities, a normal part of that process is rejection. We're all aware that we won't get a yes for every pitch, application, or request. But what do you do when you just know you're the best person for a job, position, or project, or you are set on working for a particular brand, entrepreneur, or company? It's time to turn a no today into a yes tomorrow. Start with these four quick steps on how to follow up to do just that:
1. Accept no gracefully.
We've all been there. You finally get the email that says that they think you’re great, but there aren’t any opportunities at the moment. Or they say, "Sorry, we’ve gone with another candidate." Or they write, "Let’s keep in touch, and good luck with your future endeavors." But don’t be defeated. It's always a good idea to take every no as a "not right now." Thank them for their time, and be mindful that your time will come.
2. Actually keep in touch.
When I read the word’s let’s keep in touch, I see it as a window of opportunity. After you send a thank you note, make sure you actually keep in touch and let them know what you’re up to, what you’re reading, and most importantly that you still have them in mind. After all, life is about building relationships, so you want to continue to pour into the relationship if you find that it will benefit you in the future. If you’re interested in working there at some point, this step is important, so it’s best not to drop the ball. The best way to do this is to send them an updated resume. Ping them and let them know what you’ve been working on and how you have elevated your current job posting. You could also send the recruiter articles that you may think will interest them or that seems in line with their company’s values.
3. Continue to apply for other opportunities at that dream company or brand.
Some companies frequently release job openings, so it’s best to keep applying if you know this is a company that you’re really interested in working with. If you see a different position that interests you, apply. Then, immediately let their hiring professional know via email that you applied. Be sure to include the reference number, job title, and your excitement about the position. Also, if you’ve networked with anyone else at the company, please let them know that you've applied for another opening, too. Make it clear that you are committed to building a relationship, and reiterate that, should any other opportunities open up on their end, you're interested.
4. Be smart about when you send follow-up emails.
Schedule your emails so that they are received at prime times. For example, as a journalist pitching stories, if you know that a particular editor works in news and by the time they get into the office, your email could be drowning at the bottom of their inbox, perhaps it's not best to schedule an email at 8 a.m. If you're in sales or marketing, get to know the ebb and flow of the business quarters and hiring seasons. (The same can apply to almost any other industry). If possible, find out the company's or person's preferred modes of communication, their office hours, and the busiest (or slowest) times of the day, month or even year so that you can strategize when to schedule those follow-up correspondences.