By Johnna Major
Remember What Your Parents Taught You
From the time we first learn how to talk, our parents remind us not to forget those two magic words: "thank you." So it is disheartening to hiring managers that so many job seekers seem to have forgotten these words.
You might think sending a thank you note after an interview isn't that important, but when prospective employers don't receive one, they are left to wonder how interested you really are in working for them. Promptly following up after your interview is a critical step in gaining new employment as it shows your initiative and attention to detail, attributes employers seek when hiring new workers.
What to Include
Remember, every step in the employment process should be seen as an opportunity to make a favorable impression with your prospective employer and a thank you note is no exception. But what should you include in it beyond a simple thank you for the interviewer's time?
- Look at this as a broader opportunity to sell yourself by highlighting - again - the skills and attributes that make you qualified for the job. So if the employer is looking for someone who can easily work with different departments across the organization, now is the time to remind them of how you successfully managed a cross-functional team at your previous employer.
- Mention what you learned about the company during your interview. An interview is a two-way street, so tell them what it is you like about the company and why you would like to work there. Mirroring back information you learned from the interviewer shows you are interested in the company itself and not just in selling your skills regardless of the opportunity. This should earn you high marks.
Who Gets a Thank You?
Deciding who should get a thank you note after your interview is simple. Whether on the phone or in person, you should send a note to each person you spoke with during the process. If you were first contacted about the opportunity by a recruiting firm, make sure you also send a thank you to the recruiter, as they are the ones who will ultimately decide which candidates to send along for additional interviews with their client.
Making It "Personal"
When writing a thank you note, find ways to personalize it for each recipient and remember that details count. Nothing spoils an impression faster than misspelling your interviewer's name or making a mistake on their job title. In today's business environment, emailed thank you notes are acceptable, but with the shear volume of email landing in one's inbox each day, a handwritten card is certain to catch the attention of your interviewer and make a stronger impact.
Competitive Job Market
Judging by the number of job seekers who fail to send them, it seems the thank you note has become a lost art. Don't let it be that way for you in your job search. In today's highly competitive job market, making the thank you note a part of your job seeking arsenal is sure to help you stand out in the crowd.