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Thank You Notes: A Job Search Essential

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Sydney A. Kemp, F.Z.S., zoo dentist., Digital ID 1646557, New York Public LibraryWriting thank you notes after a job interview can feel a lot like kissing your dentist's feet after a root canal. For most of us, the interview is a necessary, but uncomfortable experience that we want to just get over with and run screaming to the nearest pub to forget about. Besides, writing anything for a potential hiring manager is anxiety-provoking in itself. Still, skipping the thank you note could cost you! Read on for thank you note tips.

Why write thank you notes?

Not writing one could cost you the job.
If you think hiring managers and search committees don't notice whether or not you send a thank you note, think again. They notice, and it often will be a factor in determining who makes it to the final round of interviews and who they hire. It's an employer's market, and given the choice between a candidate with social savvy and one without, employers will pick the one with it. Also, I've heard hiring managers say that they have passed on candidates they would have pursued otherwise if the candidate had written a thank you note. That might seem like a silly reason not to hire someone, but it's also a silly reason to lose an offer.

Thank you notes can help you address areas of concern and give you a second chance.
A thoughtful and strategic thank you note can provide you with the opportunity to expand on something you mentioned during the interview that might strengthen your position in comparison with other candidates. You can also use the note as a way to assuage fears or concerns the employer might have about hiring you.  Caution: don't harp on those concerns too much and be as positive as possible! For example, if the employer is concerned that you are overqualified for the job, emphasize how much you want to get back into the trenches or enjoy working on the front lines. Emphasizing the idea that you are feeling generous and will bless them with your tremendous expertise at half the normal price will probably reinforce their concerns.

How to write thank you notes—frequently asked questions

Cards? Letters or Email?
The safest course of action is to email each person you met with (individual emails—no ccs or bccs, please) and follow up with a paper note/letter. If you know who you are meeting with along with their email addresses, you can set up simple thank you emails in your drafts folder and just hit Send when you get home. As for the cards versus letters debate, it's up to you. If you write like a doctor, a typed letter is probably a better way to go. Handwritten notes are becoming more unusual and may make you more memorable. Also, thank you cards are prettier than letters and more likely to be saved and put in a visible place providing the prospective employer with a daily reminder of your gratitude. On the downside, thank you cards don't leave a lot of space to write much of a note, so if you're feeling particularly inspired after the meeting, it might be hard to get everything on there that you want to say. For the handwriting-challenged folks out there, SelfRecruiter John Crant recommends taking a fat marker and writing Thank You! and signing your name. Simple, personal and unlikely to draw attention to your scrawl.

How soon should I send them out?
Thank you notes are most likely to influence a hiring manager's decision if you send them within 24 hours of the interview. However, if two days have passed and you just noticed that the stack of notes is still sitting in your mail pile next to the door, don't give up. A late thank you note is better than no thank you note. Also, even if it arrives too late, the employer will think of you in a more positive way if they receive one from you. It's important to keep in mind that every interview is an opportunity to get valuable face time with a hiring manager. Even if you don't get the job you interview for that day, you still might get another one that opens up in the future if you make a good impression.

It was a great meeting. Can I send them my 200 page proposal on how I intend to revamp everything?
I would resist. First, you don't want to inadvertantly provide free consulting for the company. Second, a short thank you is a good thank you.

What do I say?
Some version of "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today regarding the [position you interviewed for here] opening with your company. I look forward to joining your team, and believe I have the following valuable skills that will support your goals now and into the future: [3 reasons you're the best candidate ever!]

Comments

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Great Thank You Note Guidelines!

Very Nice Amy! There is much opportunity to separate ourselves from the rest of that pack in the Thank You note process. Be sure to take advantage of patching up those errors and omissions that may have occurred in your interview. That stone left unturned could be our undoing. John Crant Author, Career Coach & Speaker on Job Search and Career Management Featured Speaker for The New York Public Library's JOB SEARCH CENTRAL See "What Others Are Saying" at: http://www.selfrecruiter.com/recommendations john@selfrecruiter.com View my LinkedIn Profile at: www.linkedin.com/in/johncrant

Thank you note

Great article...it reminded me that a thank you not did work for me once. Actually a thank you note once got me a job! It does not always work but when done right it can get you the job. Cool!

Job Interviews

May 24, 1011 Writing a thank you note to a company that gives you an interview is of major importance. An executive doing the hiring knows that the person who is thoughtful enough to send a thank you note shall probably make a good employee, as they treat colleagues and clients in a respectful and gracious manner. Being truthful is important on an interview. Those who lie may stutter or stammer, or blush. They may be vague about facts, as confabulation may be difficult at a minutes notice. Also, realize that a lie can come back to haunt you, because often people have very good memories. If you fib about something and later tell the truth, and lie again when you are confronted with the fact that you gave two conflicting stories about some part of your job history, your resume shall be filed under, "Not to be trusted. Don't call us, we'll call you." First impressions are lasting. The applicant who is very well groomed, articulate and sure of his/her own abilities has a good chance of getting a job. Personal attributes like politeness and being a good listener make a good impression. What not to do? I have heard of some of the following from Personnel Directors...among the disqualifiers. * Smoking in the waiting area or the room you are being interviewed. * Arriving at an interview in an old house coat with hair in curlers, a tacky scarf on your head to cover the curlers and slippers or sandals. * Chewing bubble gum and making bubbles while listening to the interviewer. * Trying to shout down the interviewer every time he makes a comment. You cannot listen successfully if you are talking. * To much small talk...how you get up at 6:00 to feed the hamster, how your great, great grandmother won a hog calling contest at the country fair. How you like the Yankees but hate baseball in general. * Do not talk politics or religion, as it may offend the person doing the interviewing. * Be sweet, kind but never phony. Good luck with job hunting. The more you can be yourself, the better your chances are of getting a job. Blessings to you and yours, Geraldine Nathan

Job interviews.

That was well said and you gave useful advice. SOme of the scenarios you mentioned on how people arrive to an interview just shocked the heck out of me!

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