If you’re contemplating a career move or you’re already in the thick of a job search or you want to galvanize evangelists within your network, here’s a piece of advice to position you ahead and above everyone else:
Invest in some quality, attractive-looking thank notes and plenty of postage stamps, and start using them regularly.
This isn’t really a secret, just a woefully underused career management best practice. Sending a thoughtful, hand-written thank you note is so rare that it can have tremendous impact.
Clients have told me that thank you notes were the deciding factor in landing a new job. The decision was down to the wire. My clients sent thank-you’s, the others didn’t. The people hiring them said they were so impressed by the effort that they knew they wanted to work with them.
Emailed thank you’s are okay, and sometimes the better choice to get something out quickly, but they just don’t have the impact a snail-mailed one does.
Think about how you feel when you get a thank you note in the mail, for whatever reason. It’s kind of a thrill isn’t it, to realize that someone took the time and consideration to sit down, pen some thoughts, and pop it in the mail.
Here’s what a well-written, personalized thank you note accomplishes so beautifully, following an interview:
- Conveys courtesy toward the interviewer for their time.
- Reminds the interviewer of you and puts you top of mind again.
- Mentions highlights of the interview conversation and reiterates your interest in the position.
- Provides an opportunity to bring up information you poorly addressed or forgot in the interview.
- Provides an opportunity to ask about the next step in the interview process.
According to Laura DeCarlo and Susan Guarneri in their excellent new book, “Job Search Bloopers”, to which I contributed, some things to keep in mind with your thank you notes:
→ Make sure to have the full name, correct spelling, and title of each interviewer before you leave. Asking for business cards is a great way to do this.
→ Directly following the interview, jot down answers to the following:
- Key questions that were asked.
- Answers that captured their interest or which they said represented important skills for the position’s requirements or organization’s challenges.
- Concerns they voiced.
- Information you wish you had shared in regard to their requests.
→ Don’t send generic or canned thank you letters.
→ Don’t hand a thank you letter to the employer at the end of the interview.
→ Don’t forget to sign the letter.
Beyond those who actually interviewed you, don’t forget the people in your network who provided leads for those interviews. For that matter, don’t forget to send thank you’s to your network for their help and kindnesses. It can make all the difference in keeping you and your personal brand top of mind with them.