Lindsay Olson is a partner and recruiter with Paradigm Staffing (and PRNewser guest columnist). She specializes in helping companies and agencies find public relations and communications professionals throughout the United States. She has over ten years experience recruiting in the PR industry and also writes a career-related blog at LindsayOlson.com. You can find her on Twitter via @prjobs.
In her latest column, Olson gets back to fundamentals with the hand-written thank you note:
The Power of a Thank You Note
Sending a thank you note after an interview seems like elementary advice, but many job seekers never bother to do it. Never underestimate the power of a strong follow-up after an interview. This one simple step could be what seals the deal.
The debate about whether a thank you note should be sent via regular mail or e-mail is never-ending. I prefer a hand-written note sent through regular mail because it is more personal and memorable. Depending on the hiring manager’s preference and distance, an e-mail note these days is very common and acceptable. If you e-mail a sentiment of gratitude, you can always follow up with a card in the mail.
More after the jump:
Aside from common courtesy, think of the thank you note as a way to reiterate how your qualifications will contribute to the company’s success and confirm your interest. Have you ever walked out of the interviewing and wished you had brought up a specific point or emphasized more strongly a particular experience? A thank you note is a chance to do that.
It is also your opportunity to show your genuine interest. A well-written and personalized thank you note lets the company know you are a serious candidate and someone who excited about the opportunity. An interviewer should never have a doubt about your interest level in the position.
If you are mailing a thank you note, make sure it is delivered quickly. It should be sealed, stamped, and in the mail the same day or the next day (at the latest). If you are sending it via e-mail, make sure you send it the same day as the interview.
If you interviewed with several people in the process, send a note to each person individually. Each note needs to be unique to your interview with the person. Pick out different cards and vary the language and structure. Interviewers do compare notes. Being unoriginal and sending the same note to everyone in the process will not score you points.
Check your thank you note several times before sending it out. Simple mistakes could cost you the job. Remember that you are still being evaluated every step of the way and in every form of communication with the company. Thank you notes with grammatical and spelling errors are always a deal breaker – even if you interviewed well. Always double check the spelling of the interviewer’s first and last name.
Sending a note of gratitude is a key component to the success of your job search. Even if you know you are not the right candidate for the job, a simple follow up note could keep the door open to future opportunities or introductions.