Be proactive and consider follow-up a strategic part of your job search process. Followup can give you just the edge you need to get the job offer over others who interviewed for the position. Use followup techniques to continue to show your enthusiasm and desire for the position, but don’t make it seem as though you are desperate. Nearly every career book advises jobseekers to send thank-you letters after being interviewed, but how many do? In the aggregate, only about 5 percent of those looking for jobs perform this simple yet crucial ritual. Thus, it’s time to address some of the frequently asked questions about thank-you letters.
Doesn’t it come off as wimpy or even desperate to send a thank-you letter? Won’t the employer think I’m sucking up?
No. It’s a very rare employer who isn’t pleased to get a thank-you letter. Most consider it just common courtesy, a way to differentiate you from the pack, proof that you’re really interested in the position, and a way to keep your name in front of them.
Will a thank-you note make or break my chances of getting a job?
Well, probably not in most cases, but it could. Why take the chance? One of my former students told me that after he was hired for his first job out of college, his boss told him that he had wavered between my student and another finalist for the position. But then the boss got a thank-you letter from my student, and it made all the difference. Because of that simple gesture, my student got the job.
Should it be a typed business letter or a handwritten social note?
Studies show it doesn’t matter. The important thing is doing it. Tailor your letter to the culture of the company and the relationship you established with the person who interviewed you. If you feel the interviewer and the company call for a formal business letter, send that. If your rapport with the interviewer dictate a more personal touch, send a handwritten note.
What about an e-mailed thank you?
Career experts are not in total agreement about the propriety of e-mailing a thank you, but again, the company’s culture should guide you. If people in the company use e-mail heavily, your e-mailed thank you will seem right in step. It’s also a fast solution if you know the company will be making its hiring decision quickly. Even if e-mail fits in with the company culture, however, it’s a good idea to follow up your e-mailed thank you with a hard-copy version.