Writing thank you notes and letters can mean the difference between getting the position you desire and missing out on a great opportunity. Final selection of a winner from a group of equally qualified candidates is frequently determined on feel, fit, and how well they will get along in the organization. Well-mannered people who communicate by their actions their understanding of business etiquette have a definite advantage over those who don't bother to take the extra time to demonstrate their good manners in the job search.
Thanking people is very important! Everyone likes to be appreciated. Always, Always, Always send thank you notes or letters within 24 hours after an interview. Also, send thank you notes to those who have given you leads or have helped you in any way with your job search. Your thoughtfulness will be remembered now and in the future, and may be the final thing that allows an employer to decide on you instead of another candidate.
When you complete the interview, thank the interviewer for giving you the:
Time of the interviewer
Information you received in the interview
Hospitality of the receptionist, interviewer, and others
Consideration of the organization to be hired as an employee
Opportunity to advance in your career A hand-written note is more personal and shows a little extra effort. You may also type a thank you letter on 8 1/2 X 12 letterhead.
Request a business card before you leave the interview. When you follow-up, you will have the correct name, title, address, direct phone number, and e-mail address of the interviewer.
Address the note / letter to Dear Mr., Ms., or Mrs. rather than using his or her first name, even if the interviewer is a personal friend.
Keep you note short.
Write something specific that was discussed in the interview which makes you unique and qualified for the position.
The thank you note is an opportunity to align yourself with the expectations of the company for the position. Focus on 2-3 things the interviewer singled out as important in a candidate. They will be impressed that you understand what they are looking for in a new employee.
Correct any mistakes you made during the interview. If you are concerned about a flubbed fact or a missed opportunity, you can correct them in your follow-up thank you note.
Ask for the job. Express an interest in and enthusiasm for the job. Don't assume that the person in charge of hiring already knows this. In a competitive job market, this is your opportunity to ensure that your feelings about the job are clearly understood.
Spell everything correctly. One incorrect spelling can spoil your chances. Read it out loud. Have a family member or friend proofread it for you. Never rely only on a spellchecker - they make mistakes.
Put your return address on the envelope. On a small envelope the return address should be on the back. On a #10 business envelope it should be in the upper left corner.
Put adequate postage on the envelope.
Use an attractive commemorative stamp. Studies show that eye-catching stamps result in greater sales in direct mail advertising. Do not use a postage meter. Do not use religious or politically controversial stamps.
Use a good quality pen with dark blue or black ink.
Don't oversell yourself by using clichés like --- I'm the best person for this job.
Sign the name you were called at the interview when writing a note by hand.
Type your formal name, then sign your conversational name of typing a letter.
Mail the thank you note within 24 hours.
Your thank you note will keep your name in front of the employer or recruiter. It is an effective self-marketing tool.
Because so few candidates take advantage of sending thank you notes, you will automatically stand out.
After you start your job, you may discover that your thank you note significantly contributed to your selection by the employer.
SAMPLE THANK YOU LETTER
JONATHAN J. JACOBS 1000 Lake Michigan Avenue New Town, IL 60001 656-657-7890 JJacobs@gmail.com May 9, 2008
Larry Smart Vice President Healthy Pharmaceuticals 248 Lily of the Valley Lane Garden, CA 10145
Dear Mr. Smart:
Thank you for arranging my flight on short notice, and for taking the time from your busy schedule to meet with me to discuss your needs and my qualifications for the position of Central Regional Pharmaceutical Sales Manager with Healthy Pharmaceuticals.
I appreciate the opportunity to:
Meet with youand other members of your management team
Tour your facilities
Gain a greater understanding of the benefits and qualities of your products, services, and operations
Speak with your research and development team Mr. Smart, my proven record leading the #1 Region in pharmaceutical sales for Pfizer and previous success growing sales for emerging pharma companies, and strong team building skills make me confident that I can increase new, repeat, and referral office, clinic, and hospital sales for Healthy Pharmaceuticals.
It would be a pleasure and a privilege to join your sales management team.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jonathan J. Jacobs
THE RIGHT THANK YOU CAN MAKE A MAJOR DIFFERENCE
An article by Rudy Rossner on the Wall Street Journal careerjournal.com website emphasized that the right thank you note can earn a strong offer. He recommends asking yourself these questions before you send a thank you note:
Do I sound sincere? Insincerity is the surest form of sucking up. You can sound insincere by gushing or by being overly generic. Have a few people read the letter before you send it to make sure it has the right tone.
Am I taking advantage of this second chance to make a first impression? Few people score a perfect 10 at interviews. You can use the opportunity of sending a thank you note to answer any questions, clarify something that you said, or state something that you wished you had said. Make sure your tone is focused on what you can do for the company, not what you can get from them.
Do I show enthusiasm, attentiveness, and initiative? Show your prospective employer that you listened during the interview by summing up the most important aspects of the job. Then briefly remind the employer why you are the best person for the job.
Am I making myself memorable? Try to say something in your thank you note that will flatter your interviewer and make him or her remember you.
There is nothing exotic about folowing up with a thank you note after an interview. Just remember to send simple thank you notes that remind the prospective employers of what they need to know: that you are the real thing, the kind of employee that has what it takes to get the job done.
E-MAILING A THANK YOU AFTER A JOB INTERVIEW
I have received many questions regarding e-mailing a thank-you after an interview. Sending an e-mailed thank-you can reinforce the impression that you made at the interview, correct misimpressions, provide additional information, reinforce your qualifications, confirm your interest, and illustrate your understanding and adherence to the etiquette involved in a professional job search. You may realize by now that these are the same things that you do when you send a written or typed thank-you. E-mail messages are not always your best choice.
You should use an e-mail thank you when:
You hope to continue a dialogue with the employer or recruiter. E-mail tends to be more conversational and enables a quick reply.
Quick action matters. The job could be filled while you are waiting for a note to be delivered by snail mail.
That is the method you used for sending your résumé.
The employer requested electronic communication in a job ad.
Dealing with a high-tech firm.
You are a procrastinator and your choice is e-mail or nothing.
You are over the age of 40 to show you are contemporary - showing ease with technology.
Instinct tells you it is the correct method for the particular employer.
You are communicating with a recruiter.
You should not use an e-mail thank you when you:
Are a senior executive.
Suspect an interviewer, based on interview appearance and behavior, is a traditionalist. Paper works better with traditionalists.
Want it saved in your file.
Are concerned that it might get lost in cyberspace and may not be seen.
You may want to send an e-mail immediately, followed by a written note or typed letter. Some authorities think that this is overkill. Others say it emphasizes interest and enthusiasm. Your personal style will help you decide if one or both methods are best for you.
Somehow, a written note still seems more meaningful and effective but I have seen both methods work for my clients.