February 14th is a day that changes quite a bit as you get older. In elementary school, it meant candy hearts with deep messages like “Cutie Pie,” followed by minor heart palpitations after passing a folded scrap of paper to that special someone with an age old question (Do you like me?), and the only possible responses being, “Yes, no, or maybe.” If the answer was yes or maybe, then the next note would request clarification (Do you “like me like me” or just “like me?”).
Then came junior high, where candies were replaced by gifts like a single rose or gold-plated earrings from that kiosk at the mall. As you present your gift, you’re hoping against hope that your voice doesn’t crack and ruin the moment.
Fast forward to high school, and the excitement of a real dinner date. Undoubtedly this would involve mothers snapping photos like you were on the red carpet at the Grammys. “Just one more picture. Oh you look so beautiful and handsome.” After that, it was off to the Olive Garden, wearing your father’s sports coat. The Tour of Italy and a heart-shaped box of chocolates was all you needed to make your date overlook your sweaty palms and the fact you were wearing tennis shoes.
While we approach Valentine’s Day differently as we get older, the holiday has always been all about showing your admiration and appreciation for that special someone. Likewise, after you have an interview, it is crucial to communicate to the employer how much you appreciate their time, and how excited you are about the opportunity. While you should probably shy away from flowers and chocolates (because that would just be creepy), a thoughtful email followed by a hand-written thank you note can help separate yourself from the competition (i.e. the hundreds of other people who have a similar suit and qualifications at the career fair). A hand-written note will get more attention than the dozens of daily emails that likely bombard the hiring manager’s inbox, but it’s good to do both, since email will get their quicker than snail mail. Here’s three ideas to help you write a winning thank you note:
Introduce with emotion
You’re enthusiastic about the company and the opportunity, and this excitement should be a consistent theme throughout your letter. Tell them how much you enjoyed the conversation, and that you appreciate their time. This can go a long way in earning respect and credibility as a candidate. Refresh their memory by giving a two to three sentence synopsis of when you met, and any commonalities or specific points of interest from the interview.
Your interview probably took 30 minutes to an hour or more, and there was a lot of information exchanged. After your introductory paragraph, next you should give some highlights from the interview. Think of this as the Cliffs Notes version of your conversation. This is also a perfect opportunity to bring up any points that were overlooked, but are relevant to the position, or things you want to expand upon or clarify. Connect the dots between your qualifications, your past successes, and how they intersect with the needs of the employer.
Wrap it up
Thank them again for the opportunity, and confirm your level of interest. The key thing you want to do here is keep the lines of communication open. If you get the feeling that this interview was the first of two or more, express your desire to meet again. Hopefully at the end of the interview, you asked them what the next step would be to get an idea how and when to follow up. Confirm that you will reach out to them as promised if you have not heard from them before hand. If you have a professional website with items that include your resume or online portfolio, include a link in your email. If you feel you hit it off very well, invite them to connect on LinkedIn to keep in touch and share ideas.
Thank you notes are a quick, simple way to stay on an employer’s radar and a great way to put a bow on the interview. Most importantly, they will increase your chances of being invited to a follow up interview or offered a position.
Who says only Google gets to have fun with their logo? Here’s a sneak peak at what our website looks like today. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Optimal Resume!