Very few jobseekers take the time to send thank you letters after an interview. Because so few actually do it, you really set yourself apart from other candidates when you do.
There are a number of reasons why I always advise jobseekers to send thank you letters.
Basic good manners are high on my list. I bet your Mum always told you to mind your manners. Employers are busy people. Not every applicant was fortunate enough to be given an interview and it’s nice to say ‘thanks’ and let the interviewer know you appreciate the time they gave you.
A thank you letter also puts you back in the employer’s mind. Rarely will you be the only applicant interviewed. If, for instance, the employer has met another couple of applicants since your interview, it puts your front and centre again.
A thoughtful letter helps employers make decisions. If it’s come down to two candidates and the employer is having difficulty deciding, a timely thank you letter can tip the scales in your favour.
Remember, so few candidates actually send a letter that you do impress by taking the time to express your thanks.
Thank you letters give you the opportunity to showcase your suitability for the position with the benefit of greater knowledge about the role. What was important to the employer? You can hone in on a particular area you know is high on their agenda.
Similarly, you can use the letter to overcome any concerns they may have about your background or skill-set. For example, if managing people is part of this role and your experience in this area is minimal, you can highlight the experience you do have, demonstrate your ability to learn quickly (using a credible example) and perhaps give them a scenario of how you will develop these skills on the job.
Heard something in the interview that got you thinking? Perhaps they discussed a new product or service they were interested in. Do some research and discuss your research briefly in the letter.
Whatever your motivation, thank you letters are an effective tool and one that should be included in your job search strategy.
A few pointers though:
Remember that a thank you letter is just that: thank you for taking the time to meet with me. Don’t confuse this with a follow up letter which is used to see what stage the recruitment process is at.
When you send thank you letters, don’t expect to hear anything in return. You should have been given a timeframe for decision making at the interview. Wait that amount of time and if you haven’t heard anything after that then follow up.
© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant
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