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Preparing a resume and getting ready for the big interview are both incredibly tense situations for first-time job seekers. And unfortunately, these are only the first steps towards employment that can cause applicants to cringe. Knowing how to properly follow up after an interview is another essential part of the application process − and successful job seekers can connect with their interviewers well after their respective big days. Related: 6 Tips For Following Up After A Job Interview

Make A Meaningful “Thank You" Message

It's standard procedure these days to follow up each interview with a “thank you" note which conveys that you appreciate their time and interest (even if you flubbed the interview or they were late / apathetic.) But what many fail to recognize is that this letter shouldn't just be a professional courtesy. Every aspect of the job application process, from building a resume to writing back after the interview is through, should be designed to illustrate one thing: that you're the ideal candidate for the job. If your letter isn't doing that, then you're just wasting a stamp. To make your follow-up effective, keep these tips in mind. Convey these three things: Your interest in the position, what makes you stand out from other applicants, and what you learned from your interview. Many templates address each of these points in separate paragraphs, but the important part is that your letter seems natural and sincere. Get to the point! If your letter goes for more than a few short paragraphs, you won't exactly demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively. Effective communication is a must for many fields, especially those seeking employment with a marketing degree in hand. Refrain from stuffy or robotic rhetoric. Connect with your interviewer on a human level by demonstrating your genuine appreciation and your personality – just keep it professional. No matter what line of work you're in, punctuality is a universal professional responsibility. Get that letter out to them no less than 24 hours after the interview if you want to leave an impression that you're responsible. If writing a letter isn't something you can easily fit in your schedule, you might want to bring up how you could follow up with them at the end of your interview. If you already have their number or if it is readily available, it might be wise to ask if they can accept calls later at the end of your interview. But never simply ignore follow-up entirely, no matter what your situation might be.

Handling Further Follow-Up

Many of us resort of obsessively checking our e-mail Inboxes and lingering near our telephones to wait for word from potential employers. But it turns out that this wait-and-watch mentality can actually get in the way of our job prospects if you're being more patient than you should be. While being stubborn and persistent can certainly be self-defeating for job seekers, it can be equally bad for applicants if they fail to follow-up when an interviewer fails to get back to them within a given timeline. Generally, waiting one day after the deadline passes in which you were supposed to have heard back is the ideal time to do your initial follow-up. A job seeker who is told that they'd hear back within a “few days" should certainly reach out if a week passes. Being prompt demonstrates your punctuality, while tardy follow-up or a lack of any continued messages can be seen as disinterest. Your follow-up should start by courteously referencing the deadline that your interviewer provided you. This gives your follow-up credibility and allows the people in charge of hiring to take responsibility for the deadlines they provided you. In addition to reaching out to remind them of your interview, it can also be highly effective to demonstrate your professional interest and insight by referencing a blog post or industry event relevant to developments in the industry you're looking to be a part of. This gives your message actual value to the person in charge of hiring that you're reaching out to, and it conveys your sincere interest in the field. Remain diligent with your follow-up in a timely, predictable manner. Sporadic or quick follow-up can be seen as rude and desperate, whereas a professional nudge now and then can be far more effectively received. Following up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis once your deadline is over is advisable until hearing back. Finally, avoid negativity or insinuations while following up. If more than a month passes and you've yet to hear back, it might be time to call it day on that possibility. While it can be frustrating to not hear back from a potential employer, it's always better to take a detour on your path towards professional success by applying elsewhere than burn any bridges. It takes professionalism and diligence to establish your reputation as a reliable applicant, and maintaining a positive and friendly outlook can pay off in spades in the long run. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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