Wednesday, October 2, 2013

TIPS for Writing Meaningful Thank You Letters

Thanks for the interview.  
     Thanks for the great tip on who's hiring!  
Thank you for the helpful article.
     Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.
Thanks for the referral.  
     Thank you for the useful information.
Thank you for inviting me to attend the _____ Association meeting as your guest.

Make a habit of sending Thank You Letters to anyone and everyone who helps you along the way to finding your next job.  It should become a part of completing every interaction.  Why?  Because Thank You letters move the action - in this case, your job search  --   forward.  Thank You letters accomplish three purposes:
(1)  Express appreciation
(2)  Maintain and increase your visibility
(3)  Allow you to "sell" yourself - your capabilities and potential benefit to a future employer

Here are some tips!
●  Formats - Thank you letters can be written as:
  -  Formal letters with formal formats (see Template for a Thank You letter Following an Interview, Sept 29, 2013)
  -  e-mails using a formal format, or a less formal format just starting out with a "Dear ___" and ending with a "Best regards, . . . ."
  -  Hand written notes, generally on a note card.

● Timing - Send Thank You letters or thank you notes within 48 hours of the interaction. While many guidelines say send them within 24 hours, it may just take a little time to compose a meaningful letter or note.

●  Make it meaningful - Don't just say "Thanks."  Instead, state why the interaction was meaningful to you, and how it may have helped.  Recall something personal or memorable.  Mention or note how you bring value, i.e. sell yourself.

●  Length - Thank you letters should be fairly short, rarely over one page.
(1)  Thank you letters to interviewers will generally be longer, and use a formal format, as it may be your last opportunity to state --  and sell  --  your capabilities as the reason why you should get the job.
(2)  Thank you letters to network contacts, probably shorter, should still remind the person of what you bring to the table.  Use your letter to succinctly but convincingly illustrate your value.  

●  Fill an information gap.  There may be something you forgot to talk about in your interview or meeting.  Use your letter to fill the gap by mentioning this additional qualification or experience you possess.

●  Fill the time gap between meetings.  A significant amount of time can elapse between your interview and the time the firm makes a hiring decision, particularly if you were the first candidate interviewed in a long line of candidates.  Time a thank you letter to arrive around decision making time.  Use your letter to remind the interviewer of just how well you meet the job requirements.

●  Send more than one.  There is no limit on the number of thank you letters you can send.  Send them throughout the interview process as you progress through the stages from initial phone screen to in-person meetings.  Send them to your network contacts every time they help.

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website, including:
Thank You Letters - Why Send Them and to Whom? Sept 5, 2013
Template for a Thank You Letter Following an Interview, Sept 29,2013    _________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
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