You know how important follow-up is.

It’s a chance to stand out, an opportunity to cement a relationship and your best bet for gaining confidence about your weaknesses.

But, follow-up is also highly underutilized — in the job search and in the sales process. And, my clients have told me why, time and again…

I don’t follow up because I am afraid to do it wrong.

This may be that they don’t know what to say… or that they will be a bother… or that the person would surely call them if they had any more questions.

Well, non-sense! Following-up will make your brand much more memorable. Here are the 3 most effective 5-minute exercises of your job search. These are the small things that often decide who gets hired.

Fifteen Minute Follow-Up

Your First Five Minutes

When you are submitting a resume or proposal, don’t ever just send it in to the generic email. Send it to at least 1 “real” person at the organization, or as many as 5! Hopefully, you’ve built relationships with these people, but, either way, send these emails! Oh, yeah, and make sure you personalize your materials with their name and the email you write with information pertinent to them!

Your Second Five Minutes

Two days after you submit your application, follow up with everyone. Send a short, sweet email re-emphasizing your interest and qualification. Always, always, always re-attach your materials. The easier you make it for them, the better your chances!

Your Final Five Minutes

Are you ready for it? I get more compliments on this than on just about anything – and it only takes 5 minutes. Go to the interview with 3 physical thank you notes, envelopes and stamps. Before you go home, sit down somewhere and handwrite thank you notes to each person that you spoke with – including assistants. Put them in the mail immediately. When they get them tomorrow, you’ll look like a rockstar. (Note: you can also bring them by the office the next day, almost anyone can be “bribed” to put an envelope on people’s desk for a bag of candy)

So, there you have it, 15 minutes to standing far above the crowd.

Psstt, as a bonus, here are SIX REALLY INNOVATIVE ways that you can follow-up to stand out. These are geared specifically to the job-search crowd — warning: they will get you hired.