Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Five Reasons to Send Thank You Letters After an Interview

Thank you letters are an excellent self-marketing tool and a critical component of your job search strategy. The time spent crafting a targeted thank you letter after an interview will be well spent and can contribute to a more credible and efficient search. Here's why.

A thank you letter creates an opportunity to reconnect with employers.

Chances are you are one of many candidates being interviewed for an open position. Writing a follow up letter allows you to build a relationship with the interviewer and develop rapport. By expressing your gratitude for the interview and recapping the highlights of the meeting, you revisit the reasons you believe there is an appropriate fit between you and the organization.

Following up keeps your candidacy “top of mind”.

Often candidates make the mistake of putting too much control in the interviewer’s hands. They believe that if they are the best candidate, the interviewer will remember them and keep them in the loop regarding the selection process. But this is often not the case. It’s critical that candidates remind prospective employers of their interest in a position and the thank you letter is the perfect vehicle for communicating this.

Written correspondence allows you to sell your strengths again.

While part of the reason for the thank you letter is to express gratitude for the meeting, the document serves a much more strategic purpose. It provides an opportunity for the candidate to repackage their skills and accomplishments into another format and market their value added to the employer.

The document enables you to address points you neglected to discuss during the interview.

Many candidates report that after they leave the interview they think of all the other things they could have said during the meeting. Rather than labeling this a liability, turn it into an asset by discussing these points in the thank you letter and remind the reader of your ability to produce similar results for their organization.

A letter helps develop rapport and increases employer’s comfort level with your candidacy.

A good strategy is to recap a part of the conversation where you and the interviewer shared similar views on a job-related topic. The thank you letter can also be a forum for demonstrating your consultative problem solving skills. By addressing current issues the employer is facing and proposing solutions, you are contributing to the company’s success even before you are on board.

Thank you letters continue to be an important component of a successful job search campaign. But the focus has shifted from a simple courtesy and show of appreciation to a targeted self-marketing tool. By creating letters that validate your candidacy, build rapport, and remind the reader of your value added, you can significantly influence potential employers and increase your chances for subsequent interviews.

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  • Hi Barbara,
    Great list of 5 reasons.

    Since most other candidates won't be sending a thank you, you'll automatically put yourself ahead of everyone else.

    Simon Clay Michael

    By Anonymous Simon Clay Michael, at 11:39 AM  

  • Simon,

    Good point! Even if the hiring manager doesn't have time to read the thank you letter right away, having it show up in their inbox is a reminder of your candidacy and another opportunity to remain "top of mind".

    By Blogger Barbara Safani, at 1:18 AM  

  • hi, I've tried subscribing to your blog's RSS feed, but it's broken in my newsreader, NetNewsWire Lite. If you validate your RSS feed it tells you what may be causing problems.

    I always write thank you notes since I read about it in What Color is your Parachute 1987 edition. Do they really do much? I find the employers don't think enough of me in return to even tell me they're not hiring me. :(

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:39 AM  

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