Building on favourable impression for future success

Q: I recently went for a job with a company, but I didn’t get it. However, they made a point of ringing me to say I had made a very favourable impression. “This particular job wasn’t the right fit for you,” the owner told me on the phone, “but we’d be very interested in talking to you down the line when the right job comes up. Do stay in touch.”

But, in practical terms, how do I ‘stay in touch’ with him and the company? I don’t want to be pushy, but I don’t want to fall off their radar either. Out of sight, out of mind. How do you propose I keep my name in front of them without becoming a nuisance? (RP, email).

A: The key to your answer lies in your question: you need to stay on their mind without lurching into the category of stalker.

I would propose putting an entry into your calendar that recurs every 3-4 months. When it comes around, simply drop a short, friendly email to the owner asking how business is and explaining your own latest career moves: have you taken a new job, a new course, stayed where you are, and so on?

No more than 100 words. You don’t even need to reiterate that you are still available for work: it is implicit in your communication. If/when he has the right job for you, he will let you know, particularly given that you have kept in touch and shown a genuine interest in getting involved with his company.

Write these emails in such a way that he doesn’t even have to reply to you – he’s busy, don’t give him things to do.

You should treat these communications as a further opportunity to showcase your attitude – so be professional yet friendly. Make sure all your spellings are correct, don’t use lower case ‘m’ for ‘murphy’ in his surname, and don’t be frivolous or loose. Pepper your emails with observations about the development of his business or broader trends within the sector.

By my reckoning, that should achieve the aim of keeping your name on his mind without pushing too hard. Of course, if nothing stirs after a year or so, I’d be inclined to move on.