ALWAYS, always send a Thank You Note after your job interview.
To distinguish yourself from other candidates, send a thank you note to the person or people who interviewed you.
Establish a personal connection through your note.
You are writing to a person who works in a specific place doing real things. So show that you know what they do. Refer to something raised during the interview itself. That will remind the reader about the interview. A shared experience is the beginning of a history together – whether you get the job or not. You never know when you’ll run into the person again, or if they will have another job someday for which you’d be right.
Play as if you’re on the new team NOW.
While writing the TY note, imagine you’re in the job already. The reader wants to know that you a) want the job and b) will fit into the company. So think about what you’d be excited about doing there and then refer to it directly in the letter. Offer an idea or two about how you’d tackle an issue the company faces. You might even consider sending an attachment with some ideas, and in the cover letter, tell the person what and why you are sending it. Your enthusiasm will convey itself to the reader.
Use details to stand out.
· If your handwriting is legible, send a handwritten note on a professional-looking notecard (no kitty cats, please!). Handwritten notes that come in an envelope almost ALWAYS get routed to and then read by the addressee. If your handwriting is illegible, print. Last resort is typing. If you do type the cover letter, make sure you sign your name in blue ink (proof that YOU signed it), and jot a short note at the top or bottom saying “I look forward to hearing from you!” or “I have so many ideas to share with you!” or “I’m excited about the prospect of helping you reach your goals!” or something positive, personal and forward-looking.
· If you must send an e-mail, spend time on it and make your e-mail smart. while e-mail thank you notes are more and more acceptable, they can easily be dismissed unread. Make sure you put “Thank you and some ideas” or something like that in the subject line, to entice the receiver to actually read the e-mail. Do make sure you put at least “Thank you” or “Thank you for seeing me” in the subject line.
· Send it quickly! Have it postmarked the same day as the interview, or at most, the day after.
· Say “Thank you” instead of Thanks (and definitely not Thx!). While the culture may be informal and your interview collegial, you still do not work there and need to show some respect for that distance.
· Send a personalized note to every person with whom you had contact. “Personalized” means different words on each note. People do share notes with each other, and they will notice if you used the same language on each one. That will count far more AGAINST you than if you didn’t even send a note. Including everyone means that you may secure advocates for you in HR or among other staff.
Sample Thank You Rewrite
Every interaction with an employer is an opportunity to market yourself. So take full advantage of all of them – especially the thank you note you send after you’ve had an interview.
Key elements of a marketing thank you note:
- Thanks for taking the time to meet with me.
- I’m even more excited/enthusiastic/interested/intrigued about the position and the company/working with you/working with you and your team/joining your team. (select one or make up your own – be enthusiastic!!)
- Something specific related to the interview: a topic you were especially interested in, a reason your skills can meet their needs, a way you match exactly what they are looking for.
- A paragraph that takes your candidacy a step further and tells them you are thinking more about the job and the company, that you are getting ready to “hit the ground running.” It also could be allaying a concern you think they might have based on the interview.
- Looking forward to next steps.
Here’s a thank you note as it started and as it ended up:
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today about the Senior Project Manager position at COMPANY. I just wanted to reiterate my interest in joining your team. It sounds like you are right at the point where my passion for and knowledge of project management could make a huge impact on how your group manages projects for your Strategic Accounts.
Managing the PAST EMPLOYER integration project helped me to gain the experience of how to manage large scale technical projects that involved multiple groups and locations. This experience would allow me to hit the ground running with you and your team. You mentioned that you may not have the immediate need for a project manager until the first quarter, but let’s take the opportunity now to get on top of your existing projects and let me use my knowledge of process creation and project management best practices to put a scalable process in place to manage your projects going forward.
I look forward to hearing from you and Adam regarding next steps. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
This was a pretty good thank you note. I thought it could be better.
I made edits as you’ll see below. My thinking was not to give him an out but to create a sense of urgency that he has needs he has to fulfill in less than a month.
(Sidebar: I avoid using the word “but” as much as possible, because it negates the first statement in any sentence, as in “I hear you but…” means I really don’t care what you said.)
Dear PERSON (can be first name if you know them, preferably Mr./Ms.),
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today about the Senior Project Manager position at COMPANY. I am even more excited about the possibility of joining your team. It sounds like you are right at the point where my passion for and knowledge of project management could make a huge impact on how your group manages projects for your Strategic Accounts.
As the first quarter of 2012 rapidly approaches, I’m already thinking of how to use my knowledge of process creation and project management best practices to put a scalable process in place to manage your projects going forward. Managing the PAST EMPLOYER’s integration project gave me great experience in managing large scale technical projects that involve multiple groups and locations, experience that will allow me to hit the ground running with you and your team.
I look forward to hearing from you and PERSON regarding next steps. I’d love to keep talking with you about your project management needs.
The revised thank you note got a swift response and a second scheduled interview. The original one might well have done so, simply because so few people send thank you notes, the mere fact of sending anything would make you stand out.