n a competitive job market, sometimes it's the little things a job seeker does that can make all the difference.

Following up after a job interview is one of those little things.

There's a difference between wanting the job and really wanting the job. The hiring manager wants to hire the person that really wants the job.

And how does s/he know which candidates really wants the job? The ones who follow up, for starters.

The most common complaint from job seekers after an interview is never hearing back from the employer after the interview.

Why not follow up yourself? Are you concerned you might come off as annoying or desperate?

Fair point. You can certainly come off as desperate with a barrage of emails to the hiring manager. But if you know the rules of engagement of professional follow up ethics, you can be remembered when it's time decide the winning candidate for the job.

Step #1 The Thank You Note

This is non-negotiable. Every job interview must end with a thank-you note. Period.

This is technically your first "follow up". You're not asking for anything. You're simply demonstrating your professionalism and humility by extending the courtesy of a thank you note.

State your interest in the role, appreciation for their time, a reminder of why you're a good fit as it relates to the job.

The more specific you are in your note, the better. Using topics of discussion that came up during the meeting will not only show you were paying attention, but also remind the hiring manager who you are, from the numerous other candidates applying for the same job.

Step #2 First Follow Up

The default is to send the note after a week from the interview. Ideally, you'd want to ask the important question during the interview of what the next steps in the hiring process are.

They should communicate an approximate time frame for the decision. Space out your follow ups every week until that time frame is reached.

Every note must include a reference to the skills you will bring to the organization and how you will make the hiring manager's life easier. After all, that's why s/he is hiring you.

Step #3 No Regrets

If the time has elapsed, and you've not heard anything back. don't take it to heart. They had their reasons not to select you.

You'd still want to end professionally. Don't ever sound desperate or negative. I know you might be frustrated, maybe even angry. But if you've done everything right and still not gotten the job, don't assume you'll never be contacted again.

Who knows? Perhaps you were a very close second. Ask to stay in touch via LinkedIn. At the very least, you've come away with a networking contact.

Follow Through With Your Follow Ups

Again, I can't stress the importance of this step in your interview process.

Use tools like JibberJobber to organize your job search and keep track of your interviews and follow up schedule.

A job search is like a marketing campaign, and every outreach to a decision maker is like a little ad to remind them you exist.

Stay enthusiastic in your approach, and you will be remembered come decision time.