While it is critical to differentiate yourself during the interview, many job seekers overlook the opportunity to further differentiate themselves with their follow-up. Thank you notes are an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and make a positive impression.
A handwritten thank you note should be sent to every person you interview with at a company. Each note should be customized to the individual referencing something that you discussed. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills, your professionalism and your enthusiasm for the opportunity. Hiring managers remember who took the time to send a personal note.
Thank them for their time. Let them know what you are excited about regarding this job. Reference something you talked about. Let them know you want to be on the team.
If you know the process is moving quickly, you can sent very professional email thank you notes but should still follow-up with a handwritten note. It is a differentiator. So few people write handwritten notes anymore they are memorable. Always get your notes in the mail within 24 hours of the interview.
I had an employer who at the end of a long interview process was on the fence between two candidates. Unfortunately one candidate made it easy – she did not send a handwritten thank you note. The other candidate did and got the offer. The employer was impressed with the attention to detail and was reminded of the candidate’s enthusiasm for the job. After all the time invested in the process, don’t lose an opportunity for lack of a thank you note.
I had an employer arrive at our career fair on campus with thank you notes in his pocket. He had received thank you notes from several students after a networking event earlier in the school year and he wanted to be sure he connected with those students while he was on campus. Handwritten notes make an impression and are remembered.
In a meeting last week with a group of employers, one commented on how impressed she was to receive thank you notes from students after a networking event. Every employer in the room agreed that the notes make a very positive impression and help the students stand out from the competition.
If employers notice and remember thank you notes, it is well worth the investment in some note cards and the time to write a personal note. Use professional looking note cards – no kitties or teddy bears – use your best penmanship and truly customize each note to the individual. Multiple interviewers in the same company will often compare notes so be sure they are customized. If your handwriting is poor, consider printing your note and signing your name so it is easier to read.
This is an easy opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Use it to your advantage.