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  • Why Bother with a Thank-You Letter?

    thank-you-515514_640Many years ago, in the pre-e-mail era, I snail-mailed my thank-you letter after an interview and was told later by the director of human resources that my thank-you letter was the decisive factor in the company’s offering me the job.

    As a career coach, I frequently guide people through such job seekers’ dilemmas. Many of my clients feel confused about the need to write a thank-you letter—and sometimes even more so about its content. Let me take you back to that interview. At a point when the interviewer feels confident about his grasp on your candidacy for the position, he’ll look you in the eye and say, “Do you have any questions for me?” Don’t underestimate that question. It represents another test for you. The interviewer wants to see (1) whether you came prepared for the interview and (2) whether your questions are pertinent, intelligent, and supportive of your future role or whether they’re purely self-serving. Therefore, you are best served if you come prepared with three strategic questions. Yes, I know you probably have many detailed questions to ask, but does the interviewer have that much time?

    There are three questions I suggest my clients bring to an interview. All of them are strategic, meaning that they focus on advancing their own interest as a candidate. The first one should explore the candidate’s standing in the interviewer’s mind regarding the candidate’s application and whether anything further can be provided to keep the process moving on. If there are any remaining doubts, they should surface now. However—and this is very important—whatever the interviewer reveals, the candidate should jot it down quickly. This is not the time to rebut, argue, or even attempt a reply. Remember that when the interviewer has asked the last question, he does not wish to extend the interview much longer.

    The second question is about the personality traits the interviewer considers important for the position. This question is important because the information the candidate supplied via the résumé excludes such items, yet they are very important for the fit consideration. After all, the candidate is not a robot but a human being.

    And the last question to ask the interviewer is what he perceives as challenging for someone who is new to the job.

    Between each question, the candidate should take two or three seconds to write down the key concepts. The notes will be essential in terms of the thank-you letter. In the content of the letter, the candidate should address precisely what was learned based on the responses to the three questions.

    And now, the remaining issue involves how to transmit the thank-you letter. I suggest not via e-mail. After all, everybody else is sending a thank-you letter via e-mail. You want to stand out and be different. I suggest you print your letter on high-quality bond paper with a matching envelope and use FedEx or a similar courier service. This will assure you that you dealt with issues that were important to the interviewer; plus, you will stand out versus your competition. And now wait for the offer. Good luck in your new position.

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    I am a Career Coach and my specialty is Interview Preparation. I'm known as "The Landing Expert." My clients are 90% job seekers in transition and 10% those who contemplate a career change. CLIENTS BENEFIT FROM MY SERVICES AS FOLLOWS: • Most clients land, on average, within 5 months. • In-office clients are videotaped in an interview simulation followed by a lively discussion. • Clients get "straight-talk" coaching. This "tough-love" approach pinpoints their weaknesses quickly and lets them make real-time corrections (improvements) in performance. • Interview preparation techniques are customized for a wide range of professional backgrounds, age groups and learning styles. • Clients are trained to analyze an interviewer's question then provide a focused response. • Clients are exposed to a variety of interview questions from across many industries. • Audio/Video and screen collaboration sessions can be recorded for future viewing. • Clients have on-demand access to "in-transition" support. SPECIAL ADVANTAGES FOR CLIENTS INCLUDE: • Interview preparation includes both verbal and non-verbal communication (i.e., body language and voice). • Based on 10 years of experience with 600 clients worldwide, new clients are taught how to confront and survive the most challenging interview scenarios. • Clients have immediate access to my network of 25,000+ Level 1 LinkedIn connections. • Clients and non-clients alike may download my free 90-page directory of job search/networking groups throughout NY, NJ, PA, and CT. • To provide the greatest possible reach, I have communication skills in five (5) different languages and offer unlimited e-mail & phone support. Get customized interview preparation and access to my 25,000+ Level 1 LinkedIn connections! Go to http://www.landingexpert.com/ then SERVICES and FEES for detailed information. Contact info: alex@landingexpert.com or ✆ 609.333.8866 EST

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    3 comments on “Why Bother with a Thank-You Letter?
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Ian Boreham says:

      I think the second and third question could also be used in your favour even if you don’t land the job. Although they will be opinions of the interviewer the candidate could take this as useful information to be applied to their next efforts.

    2. avatar
      EXPERT

      Love the article Alex!
      I always try to send personalized thank you notes. Not only does it show that you took the time and effort to send one, you are potentially making new contacts they may come back and benefit you down the road.
      -Brian F

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      Whee PR says:

      Would completely agree, a hand written note even if its a simple thank you, will almost certainly set you above and beyond the rest of the crowd. A lost art form in our digital world. Getting personal business cards and personal stationary is money very well spent.

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