Follow-Through: The Most Underestimated Career Ingredient

Follow-Through: The Most Underestimated Career Ingredient

One thing career and job hunters certainly do not suffer from is lack of advice. There is a plethora of sources and experts that present the ultimate solution and the quick fix for your resume. You probably read all about the “ultimate career move," the “latest must have social media network," “video resumes you need to know about," if you want to move up the career ladder, and so on. Related:5 Simple Career Success Factors As a career coach and LinkedIn moderator of a group dealing with Personal Branding, I feel obligated to go through most of these articles no matter how lurid the message might sound. After all, I have to stay current and spot potential new trends quickly. Today, however, I want to focus on nothing fancy or new, but on a very old-school kind of skill that is very, very basic, yet so neglected, these days: Follow-through!

Lack of follow-through is all around

By follow-through, I simply mean acting on your word. I recently noticed that people from all ends involved in the career sector have absolutely no follow-through: New business contacts that forget to connect on LinkedIn as discussed, job hunters that don't bother to inquire about the respective HR person's name for their cover letter, interviewers that never get back to candidates who traveled several hundred miles to make to an interview. I could continue this list – but you get the gist… Now, I know we live in a busy time. But we also live in a time where everybody is their own brand in a global employment market. And how do you think your brand will do if people can't rely on your word in the first place? There is an actual risk that you might appear undetermined or even unreliable. An assumption you cannot afford – neither as job hunter nor as business owner. Even the best resume, LinkedIn profile, business presentation or company website will have a hard time to overcome an assumption like this.

A practical example

Let me give you a recent example from my own practice. There is a person in one of my business meet-up groups whom I started referring business to this spring. Let's call her Stefanie. Stefanie liked the fact that I referred business up her way, and asked if she could do anything for me. As I had just published my new DIY resume book, I took her up on it, and asked her if she was interested in reviewing the book if I would provide her with a free copy (Stefanie was very interested in all career topics in general…). I followed-up a few times and got some lukewarm “soon" feedback. This is now almost three months ago. However, still no review. In the meantime, I have stopped referring business to Stefanie. Not because I am disappointed or as some kind of passive aggressive “retaliation." No, the actual reason has to do with my own business interests. If I refer my business contacts to someone, I need to be sure that a dedicated professional takes care of them, where words are followed by deeds. Every single time. Otherwise, my own business might be affected in a negative way.

The take-away

The take away is so simple: always follow-up on your word. If you leave a business meeting or career fair by saying to someone “we should catch up over coffee," then make sure you do everything from your end to make it happen. But be careful: after a while you might notice serious changes in the quality of your professional network.

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About the author

Tim Windhof is a published and enthusiastic Resume Writer and Career Coach who is fascinated by helping people take their careers to the next level. Tim is a resume expert and educator for the American Writers and Artists, Inc. and their Resume Writer Training program. Tim has written interview-yielding resumes for clients from the US, Canada, India, Australia, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.