I contacted a company to see if they had any positions available in the field that I am interested in (fashion design). Someone responded with a description of a position that opens up every now and then that I thought I would be interested in and she told me to send my resume. I went to a job fair and found out that that person was there representing her company and introduced myself. I am no longer interested in that position. Should I still write a thank-you letter of some sort and what should I say?
The Career Doctor responds:
One of the key rules of job-hunting is don’t burn any bridges — you just never know when you’ll run into someone again. The person who is recruiting for that position today may be in a situation in the future where she is hiring for a position that better suits you. Another key rule is it never hurts to follow good business etiquette. Job-hunting is all about building your network of contacts and using these contacts to help further your career just as you might help those same people (or others in your network) advance their careers. So yes of course — write a thank-you letter. How long does it take to write a thank-you letter? Just think about the payback you could receive from such an easy and courteous gesture if not now somewhere down the road. And you’ll stand out from the crowd because amazingly very few job-seekers make the effort to send thank you letters. The content of the letter should be short and direct. Thank the woman for her time and interest for discussing the company and the position. Then simply state that since the job fair your career goals have shifted and you are no longer interested in that position. You could even describe the new job interest you have — who knows — perhaps her company is also hiring in that area or perhaps she knows of another company that is hiring for that type of position. Want to see what a good thank-you letter looks like? We have a bunch of them in our Sample Job Interview Thank-You Letters section of Quintessential Careers.