This phrase, one I heard recently from my doctor, left me swooning—and not because he was calling to tell me about a benign diagnosis. What, then, was he calling about? He was calling to tell me he had no news.
Why was I so enraptured by this? Because he had said he would call … and he did. Even though—as noted—he had no news.
What I’ve discovered, and I’m sure you’ve noticed it, too (especially during a job search!), is that people will say, “Oh, I’ll call and let you know about thus and such,” and then … silence. When you finally do hear from them, either because you could no longer stand the silence and called them, or because you find yourselves standing behind them in the “Ten Items or Less” line, is that they didn’t call because they never did get the answer to your question, or get access to the information you required. If you’re like me, your internal monologue in these moments is, “Well, why on earth didn’t you call me and tell me that?”
Why is this important? In the big scheme of things, it’s important because operating in this way is critical to building others’ trust—and trust is vital to credibility. If you become known as someone who takes the time to pick up the phone and follow through—regardless of the status of the job you are following through on—you are far more likely to be able to persuade people to give you time when you need it, a referral when you ask for it, and the deal because you deserve it.
“Okay, I get that,” you might be thinking, “but how does this help me with my job search?”
This concept is particularly important to your job search—and absolutely critical at this time of year—because, in these dog days of summer, it’s easy to begin thinking you’re off duty when it comes to the search process. “It’s August,” you might be telling yourself, “everybody’s in the Hamptons/the Cape/the Vineyard. No one’s thinking about filling positions this time of year.”
Well, no, they’re likely not. They are, however, ripe for making your acquaintance when they’re also in off duty mode—and this is exactly when your initiative and follow through is going to stick in their memory as particularly admirable.
For example, you might, perhaps, be talking with a group of people at a cocktail party and find yourself connecting well with someone whose background you don’t know, but whose interests you appear to share. “I’ll send you a link to an article I read,” you might say. Now, in the normal course of things, it’s possible your offer will exit your consciousness by the time you arrive home. Taking the time to follow through on your offer of information however, might mean you end up sending your information to the Vice President of a firm you’ve always admired. And now you’ve made a connection—and a connection he’s far more likely to remember because you weren’t, technically, “networking” when it was made. You were, however, exhibiting just those qualities most prized by firms searching for talent: initiative, follow through, and keeping your word.