Job Hunting

Leticia Baldridge Was Right

Manners do matter in business -- and no more so than after a job interview.
Lisa YoonFebruary 18, 2003

The devil, they say, is in the details.

In no other endeavor is this more true than in the job-search process. For instance, you can submit the killer resume and ace all the interviews, but did you remember to write a thank-you note to the interviewer? If so, did you send it promptly?

Such a slip-up might seem less than crucial. Yet it is: not only does it show what a considerate human being you are, but it offers one final chance to drive home the points you made during the interview — the points being, of course, why you should get the job.

A good thank-you note, according to online executive job resource ExecutiveAgent, is brief but purposeful. In three paragraphs or less, the successful thank-you note achieves a number of goals. First off, it thanks the interviewer for his or her time. That may seem needless to say, yet executive coaches never seem to tire of emphasizing the need for interpersonal skills in senior-level positions. Thanking people for their time shows you’re interested in needs other than your own.

A thank-you note, says ExecutiveAgent, also shows you paid attention during the interview by commenting on one or two points that came up during the interview. Some things worth noting: opportunities that interested you, or company challenges that you might be particularly qualified to handle. Then briefly reiterate what you said during the interview, showing what you bring to the table and how it addresses the company’s needs.

Thank-you notes are also a chance to let your personality come through, according to ExecutiveAgent, while maintaining a professional tone. Read: no form letters. Choose your words carefully to convey your interest and energy.

Of course, the devil lurks in other details within the thank-you writing process. Some key points to bear in mind:

Be timely. After all, the note serves as a gentle reminder that you’re still there. And as ExecutiveAgent points out, it’s quite likely the interviewer spoke to several more candidates after you left the building. Some experts even suggest sending a note the very day of the interview.

Proofread. Make sure there are no errors in grammar or spelling. Again, this may seem obvious, yet headhunters regularly put bad spelling at the top of their pet-peeve lists. (Resume Mistakes that Recruiters Hate)

Use the right medium. These days, says ExecutiveAgent, most hiring managers use E-mail regularly, and an electronic thank-you note is acceptable. If you go with paper, however, use good paper, and make sure the font matches the one on your resume. Even in the search for employment, branding is important.