By Hillary Mantis
You practiced for days. The interview’s finally behind you. What should you do now — just hold your breath and wait? There are a few things you can do to keep the ball rolling.
1. Thank You Notes:
Yes, you should always send a thank you note. Send it out quickly, within 24 hours of the interview. Email is fine. It should be short, sweet, and without any typos. You can re-emphasize your interest in the position, and reiterate why you would be the perfect fit. It’s also nice to reference something you talked about during the interview that went well, or seemed to be of interest to the interviewer.
2. Follow Up:
Follow up is key. You must tread carefully — too much follow up, and you might be perceived as a stalker. Too little and you risk having them forget about you. What’s the general rule of thumb for follow up? A polite email, two weeks after the interview is appropriate, if you have not heard back from them. What should you say? You can write that you are checking in to see what the status of the position is, and that you are still very interested and available.
If you have checked in politely, and a few more weeks go by, what should you do? Another follow up email or call is fine at this point. Ideally, you have something new to tell them. For example, if you placed in a Moot Court competition, wrote onto a Journal, or have some other new activity or honor to tell them about, let them know.
A month’s gone by. You still haven’t heard from them. Should you give up? Definitely not. They are on “employer time,” meaning they have clients to call, briefs to write, cases to win. You are on “applicant time,” biting your fingernails as yet another day goes by when you haven’t heard back from them. In this day and age of tight budgets, it might take a long time for them to decide, especially if they are understaffed, and busy with their own work. Don’t despair. How to make yourself feel better? Immediately shoot off a few more job applications while you are waiting. It will help you realize that they are not the only employer out there.
3. Follow Up After a Networking Meeting:
Networking’s a little different. You met with someone for advice, and naturally you hope to hear from them. How should you handle the follow up? Since you never know when someone you met with might hear of a great job for you, it’s crucial to stay in touch. As with the interview, you should send a brief thank you note right away. Then a follow up email, about once a month, is a good general guideline. If you read an article you think would be of interest to them, send them the link. If you found out that you are getting an award at graduation, or you are a graduate who just passed the bar exam, that would be a great reason to be in touch. People genuinely want to help — but often need little reminders that you are still looking for a job.
Hillary Mantis is a nationwide Legal Career Consultant and Pre-Law Advisor. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers. You can write to Hillary at firstname.lastname@example.org.