Creative Job Search: Thank-You Letters and Notes
Saying "thank you" in your job search is not only the right thing to do, but is also an effective job search strategy. Every "thank you" is an opportunity to sell your qualifications and leave a positive impression on the reader. In your job search you should express your gratitude. Don't wait for opportunities - create them. Send a thank-you letter or note to employers and employment contacts whenever they have extended themselves. This includes after a job or informational interview, when someone gives you a referral or information, or whenever someone takes time out of their schedule. There is no effort too small to warrant a "thank you."
"Thank you" may be said in person, by phone, in a formal letter or informal note. The best approach will depend upon the circumstances, personal style and preference. The best strategy is to select the approach that best serves the immediate need.
Thank-you letters and notes should be standard tools in your job search. The thank-you letter should follow a standard business letter format while the note may be a simple hand written note or card. The situation and your personal style will determine which you send.
At the minimum, a written thank-you should be sent after all interviews. This is your opportunity to make one more impression before the decision is made. Send a written thank-you even if you are turned down for a job. Let the employer know that you appreciate them considering you and would be interested in future opportunities.
Points to Consider
- Be brief and to the point.
- When thanking a potential employer restate your interest in the position and/or company.
- Always plan your follow-up. Make it a point to tell the person when and how she/he can expect to hear from you in the future.
- If there are multiple people, such as a panel interview, send a separate thank-you to each person or send a single thank you to a key person for distribution. When sending more than one thank-you, it is very effective to vary each.
- Always send a written thank-you to a person by name.
- The thank-you note is an opportunity to restate your qualifications. Briefly include any pertinent information you failed to mention earlier. Be sure to reemphasize your qualifications to do the job.
- Write and mail thank-you correspondence as soon after the contact as possible, preferably the same day, while details are fresh in your mind.
- Learn to say "thank you" when you are with the individual. But do not let that be all you do; follow up with a thank-you letter, note or phone call. Occasionally, you may want to make the effort to meet with the person again for the primary purpose of saying, "Thank you."
- Of course you should always say "thank you" whenever you are on the phone and someone helps you. But there may be occasions when you would call someone specifically to say, "Thank you."
Basic Parts of a Thank-You Note
1. Statement of appreciation
2. Expressions of interest in employment
3. Brief restatement of qualifications
4. Final "Thank you"
Reprinted with the permission of the Idaho Department of Labor.
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