When I hear of people successfully getting interviews but not getting offers, my first question is, “Did you send a thank you?”
I coach my clients to send thank yous when we are discussing interview strategies but I know that even I am lax on writing thank you notes. We get busy and forget how powerful a thank you is in any facet of your life. In a job search though, it can be the make or break factor between launching that new career, getting the next promotion, or getting a job at all.
Let’s start with the thank you basics:
- Should I e-mail, hand write, or type? I have listened to my career colleagues discuss this for years and the most recent dialog came to the consensus that the hand-written thank you is totally acceptable and with some hiring managers, it might give you an edge because so much is digital these days. For the same reason, an e-mail is ok because it shows a desire to communicate quickly and you can show that you have a command of technology.
- Who do I send it to? In these days of team interviews, everyone you interview with should get a thank you. You can exchange business cards if it feels like an appropriate thing to do, write their names and titles down during the interview as you take other notes about the position and you will be demonstrating that you care about the job when you take notes as long as you are also answering questions and using eye contact at the same time, or if those options fail, you can check back with the receptionist for the names and proper titles of the interviewers.
- When do I send it? Most experts recommend within 24 hours of the interview. And no, you cannot prepare them prior to the interview and hand them out when the interview is over. Why not? See #4.
- What should I say? This is the perfect time to show your value to the organization and prove your understanding of the position. You are reselling yourself at this point. What did you learn about the company at the interview? What solutions could you provide to their problems? What impressed you about the company? Was there a product or process that struck you as being innovative? Did you like the team atmosphere and feel that you would be a great fit? Make it count, think sales, and you are the product. Say something that will sell you once more as the interviewer reads the thank you.
Now for the twist!
- Send that thank you to the job you didn’t get! What? You heard me right. They said no, and you are going to send them one more thank you.
- Why? There are times when the first candidate doesn’t work out or backs out or maybe there is another position coming up (perhaps in the hidden job market) that you may fit. By sending a thank you for the “no”, you keep the door open.
- What should you say? In a thank for the no, you will say something like: “I realize that at this time, you have found a different candidate but I want to thank you for the opportunity to learn more about your company. I appreciate the value XYZ company has in the field of _________ and I learned…. In the future, I would like to be considered for opportunities you have for XPosition. Thank you again for spending the time with me in the interview process.”
When else is a Thank You note appropriate?
I really think that we have forgotten the art of the thank you. We say we are too busy, we are overwhelmed, or we are just absent-minded. But those two words are so powerful and combined in written form, they can change the way people think of us, they can make us the one who is remembered, and they can propel us on the road to success.
Not only should we say the words more often, we need to write those thank you notes, not only in the job search process but we need to say them and write thank yous to the colleagues who help us out with great ideas, to the friend who takes time to listen, and to the customer or client who is faithful in tough times to still buy your services or products. Thank you!
Stuck in your job search or just ready to move on or up from your existing position? Julie Walraven, a Wausau, Wisconsin-based professional resume writer and career marketing strategist, can help you get ready for your next role! To find out how, Click here!