Career Transition Workshop would like to share this article by Andrea Persman, Healthcare IT Recruiter at Addison Group. To read more of Andrea’s articles click here.
Let’s be real here. No matter how good you are at your professional craft, interviewing is tough – especially when you’re going after a job you really, really want. You do everything you can to look your best, keep your energy up, say all the right things, and memorize answers to those tricky, interview-y questions. When all is said and done, you may even walk out of that interview with your head held high, thinking “I’ve got this in the bag”.
And then it happens… you lose out to another candidate whose “qualifications more closely match our requirements”…
What happened here? Did you do everything in your power you possible could have to increase your chance at winning this job? Everything? Think about it.
One opportunity many people miss out on, post-interview, is taking charge of their potential to stand out as the best person for the job. Arguably, the best way to stand out from your competition is by writing a cleverly written, and wildly sincere, thank you note.
I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know that I should write a thank you note, post-interview. I’ve got a great one drafted up in a word document already.” Ooh… that last statement really gets my blood boiling, because it is a HUGE mistake in the end-game of interviewing.
No one – not even you – wants to read an impersonal, staple thank you note. You know the type:
“Dear Mr. Hiring Manager, Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about the XYZ Job at Your Company. It was a pleasure meeting with you and I truly enjoyed learning more about the role and the company. After our conversation, I am confident I am the best person for the job, and this is why… Blah, blah, blah. Should you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Warm Regards (barf), Me”
Sound about right?
“Ok Andrea, since you’re so smart, how do you think I should write a thank you note to a potential employer?” Well, Reader, I’m glad you asked!
Back to my original point: you want to make sure you stand out, and make a strong impression on your interviewer; to be at the front of mind, and make Mr. Hiring Manager remember you! Every other candidate is going to follow up with that same, staple thank you note from above, and guess what’s going to happen to it once it hits Mr. Hiring Manager’s inbox… It’ll be skimmed over and sent straight to the trash box, never to be thought of again!
That being said, here are my (mind-blowing) suggested guidelines for a perfectly crafted, cleverly-written, memorable, and sincere thank you note:
1. As you’re brainstorming over the content to include in your note, write out the following points:
What are 1-3 things you liked about what Mr. Hiring Manager told you about the role and/or the company?
What are 1-3 things you found interesting about the role and/or the company?
What are 1-3 things that impressed you about Mr. Hiring Manager?
Did you and Mr. Hiring Manager connect on anything, on a personal level, or discuss something interesting, or out of the ordinary? What was it?
You don’t have to include all of your bullet points in your thank you note – this is a brainstorming technique.
2. Keep in mind that the interview was your time to talk about yourself. The thank you note is your time to talk about your interviewer.
People like to be complimented, they like to hear about how they have impacted your life in some way, and they will always remember the way you made them feel.
Make Mr. Hiring Manager feel good about himself in your thank you note. Show your appreciation for his time, in a more sincere and thoughtful way than just “thank you for your time”.
IMPORTANT: use the word “YOU” much more often than you use the word “I”.
3. If you’re ever in doubt about what you’re writing, think to yourself, “is this a staple phrase that every other candidate could/would write in a thank you note?” If the answer is yes, come up with something else to say. Also think to yourself, “would I want to read this note? Is this interesting?” If the answer is no, come up with something else to say.
4. MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t overthink it. Remember that Mr. Hiring Manager is a human too, with his own unique personality. Write your thank you note fluidly, as if you’re writing to a friend, while still maintaining your professionalism.
Check out this (awesome, specific, personalized) thank you note:
“Mr. Hiring Manager,
Wanted to shoot you a quick note to reiterate how humbled I feel to be in consideration for the XYZ Job at Your Company. I can tell you have a firm grasp on the overall goals of the XYZ department, as well as a very transparent and team-oriented leadership style; all qualities I personally deem admirable in a professional mentor and manager. Not to mention, it was particularly nice to hear your perspective on Your Company’s internal culture, as well as your commitment toward promoting individualized professional development. Having the beach located right around the corner from the office certainly doesn’t hurt either!
Please know, my interest in joining your team remains high. I would be honored to be considered further, and hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks again, Me”
What do you think? Give this format a shot the next time you’re going for a dream job – I can’t promise that you’ll get the job, but I can certainly promise you’ll make a lasting impression. Good luck!