Courtship & the Job Market

Last week I attended an internship fair at the my university. I’ve always been disappointed in these career fairs before because they so heavily focus on the for profit sector and nonprofits are dreadfully underrepresented. As a student who never plans on working in the commercial sector, and dreams of working for nonprofits, these events have not been fruitful for me. This one was different.

With about 35% of the tables taken by nonprofits from around the Pacific Northwest I was pleasantly surprised to make such useful and potential filled connections. I talked to every single one of the nonprofits in attendance some of them I talked to twice. I even talked to an organization that I have a long held grudge against, though I had no intention of pursuing anything with them. I wanted to know what they were looking for, and what they were doing in the field, what makes them successful. And I got that information from their representative. It’s now a piece of knowledge in my mind that I can share with my future employer.

So I talked to a lot of nonprofits. Over the last week I have emailed many of them, and had an informal interview at one of them. YAY!!! As several of them are contacting me back I am just beginning to track turn around times on emails and conversations between myself and organizations. I wondered for two days when I should follow up with the org at which I had an interview. The old dating adage of the three day call back came to my mind so I went with it. I got a quick response thanking me for following up. So I feel like I was right on. But that is only one data point.

Victorian Courtship

Victorian courtship

This whole process feels very much like courtship to me. I spent a night at a speed dating bar (the internship fair) and came away with a bunch of contacts. From there I have begun pursuing multiple contacts and each one I spend time researching on the internet to find out about the organizations and then spend hours writing the perfect cover letter and resume to, and then if I interview (yay a first date) I wonder how long before I should follow up with them.

So my question dear readers is this. What is the right time frame for following up with a potential employer after an interview? Is it different in the nonprofit and for profit sectors?

Leave you comments or email them to me at; I’d love to have a conversation about this.


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