Writing Thank You Notes: An Integral Part of Your Career Design
by: Peter Hill, CPRW
There is one little practice that is vital to generating the interest of potential employers. It is critical, but very few job seekers actually do it.
What is it?
The THANK YOU NOTE!
Interview experts agree that EVERY job hunter MUST send thank-you notes after EVERY interview. They also point out that most people completely ignore this bit of wisdom.
But what you don't know, is that writing thank you notes can put you a the head of the line.
In order to have a huge advantage over the other candidates for the job you want, send thank-you notes to EVERYONE you meet the day of the interview--administrative assistants, managers, interviewers, people you met who already do the job you are targeting, and so on.
One of my resume clients (let's call him Mike) is a Certified Arborist and Tree Care Professional in the San Diego area. His goal is to move into the consulting arena.
Very soon after speaking on the phone with the owner of a prominent tree care company, Mike mailed a brief note thanking the owner for his time and consideration. Within a week, the owner called Mike and offered him an informal mentoring arrangement to help Mike learn more about the consulting side of tree care.
Mike decided to pass on the offer and continue his job search, and he recently landed a very nice position. He sent me an e-mail about his recent job-hunting activities saying, "...and just so you know, the thank-you letter has got to be the block that keeps the door open. I sent out three letters and subsequently got three offers."
The post-interview thank-you note doesn’t have to be fancy. Here’s an example:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. As we discussed, my 10-years of outside sales experience is a perfect fit for XYZ Widgets as you expand into the Pacific Rim. In light of your plans for Asia, you’ll find my Japanese language skills to be of great value.
Feel free to contact me at 555-1234 should you have additional questions. I am very interested in the position.
Thank you again for your time and consideration.
Okay. You now know the impact a thank-you note can have after an employment interview. Are there other opportunities to send them?
Absolutely! The general rule is this:
After ANYONE has done you even the smallest favor during the job-hunt/career-design process, send the individual a thank-you note. Writing thank you notes is more important than you think.
Was a receptionist at a company you phoned while doing research exceptionally helpful? Did one of your colleagues take five minutes to help you with a cover letter? Did somebody who already does the job you want to do provide you with some valuable insights? The job hunt can be frustrating. Was someone particularly encouraging?
You should send each of these individuals a brief hand-written thank-you note expressing your gratitude for their time and assistance.
To reiterate: Writing thank you notes to everyone who helps you, gives you leads, or provides advice or guidance even in the most infinitesimal way. That includes friends, people at companies or organizations you’ve visited while doing your research, temp agency personnel, administrative assistants, receptionists, librarians, company employees...ANYONE!
Here are a few writing thank you notes guidelines:
Address the note to the specific individual with which you spoke. Personalize it. Avoid an obligatory, mechanical tone. Mention something about your conversation or how the individual treated you.
Thank-you notes following an interview should be printed out on quality stationery with letterhead matching that of your resume. Remember to sign it!
A conservative, handwritten thank-you card is appropriate for all those friends, colleagues, and casual contacts that have helped you along the way.
Send thank-you notes the very next day, at the latest. If it arrives a week later, the meaning is lost.
If you e-mail a sentiment of gratitude, follow up with a thank-you note or card in the mail.
Use your best judgment -- these are just guidelines.
The thank-you note is critical to your getting noticed and to the success of your job hunt. And because most folks either forget or just plain don't do it, you'll find yourself at a significant advantage.
Here are some great resources for writing the perfect thank you note.
About The Author
Peter Hill is president of Distinctive Resumes, a resume consulting firm based in Honolulu, Hawaii. He can be contacted through his website: http://www.peterhill.biz