Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Power of the Thank You Note

If you are seeking a simple and fast way to set yourself apart from other job seekers, the thank you note may be just the thing. Most experts agree that every job seeker should follow every interview with a thank you note. However, studies show that only about 5% of job seekers complete this critical step in the hiring process.

A well-written thank you note will probably not make or break your job search. However the thank you note could be the tipping point that leans the interviewer to select you, it could keep a door open that may have been closed, and it will definitely make you more memorable to the interviewer.

Thank you notes demonstrate professionalism and good manners, and indicate that you are organized and on top of the details. Thank you notes can be used to summarize the points covered in the interview, express your interest in the position, and show you are serious about your career. Here are some guidelines to writing and effective thank you note.

• Keep it short, professional, and personalized. The letter should be no more than one page – preferably no more than three paragraphs. Address the interviewer personally and remind them of something specific you discussed in the interview.

• Always send the letter within 24 hours of the interview. Consider keeping note cards in your car. After the interview, go out to your car and write the card. Walk it back into the receptionist and your interviewer will have it by the end of the day. Of course, this only works if your handwriting and spelling skills are professional.

• Choose the delivery method based on each situation. Hand-delivered or mailed is the best option. A thank you email is less professional and impactful. However, if the decision is going to be made by the end of day you may have to send an email.

• Appearance is important. The thank you should be printed on matching paper with the same heading and font as your resume and cover letter. If hand-written, the thank you must be neatly written and legible on professional stationery.

• Always express your interest in the job and the company.

• Always sign the letter by hand if mailed or hand-delivered.

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