Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to Write a Thank You Letter After an Interview


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It's amazing how much of an impact etiquette can make on a candidate's job search. In today's marketplace of hundreds of resumes for every position, Applicant Tracking Systems, and cluttered job boards, it is all too easy to fall into a "numbers game" mentality and de-personalize the process. However, in working with thousands of clients spanning all major industries as well as U.S. and Canada recruiters, I can say with confidence that this is the wrong approach. Treat every submission individually. Prepare for every interview. And, perhaps most importantly, be sure to send a Thank You Letter within a week of the interview.
Why is a Thank You Letter important? Because it's not just empty courtesy, but an OPPORTUNITY to highlight your suitability for the position while communicating you passion for it. Simply put, it's an easy way to stand out from your competition. Here's what you need to know about creating an effective Thank You Letter:

1) KEEP IT SHORT
Don't make the mistake of trying to rehash everything from your resume. Instead, think in terms of building on the connection forged by the interview. The key objectives here are to express gratitude for having been offered an interview, QUICKLY remind the reader why you're such a great fit for the job, and open the door for them to follow up.

2) ADDRESS IT TO THE PERSON WHO CONDUCTED THE INTERVIEW
There's some confusion amongst jobseekers regarding this point. Make it easy for yourself and address it to the person who conducted the interview. If for some reason you neglected to take down his/her contact information during the interview, it is perfectly acceptable to call asking for it.

3) CREATE A BRIEF OPENING PARAGRAPH EXPRESSING THANKS
Here is a sample opening paragraph:
"Thank you for affording me the opportunity to meet and discuss the Director of Operations position at COMPANY NAME. It was a true pleasure to determine how best I might apply my 12+ years of experience towards achieving the company's long-term goals. I will be available for a follow-up interview within the next two weeks, and will touch base with you during this period. "
In essence, everything you hope to achieve in the Thank You Letter can be expressed in the opening paragraph. This approach respects a reader's time while maximizing the effectiveness of the document. Note that the position title as well as the company name is placed right at the start. The "12+ years of experience" highlights the candidate's suitability for the job, and the final sentence establishes a timeframe for following up. If you ended the Thank You Letter here, it will have done its job. Here's why you shouldn't:

4) CREATE A SECOND PARAGRAPH LISTING 3-4 KEY ATTRIBUTES
Here's where a thank you letter REALLY pays off. Develop a second paragraph that builds on key skills touched upon during the interview. Here's a sample:
"The interview only renewed my esteem for your organization and my desire to contribute to the utmost of my abilities. Your need for a Director of Operations who can rapidly address critical situations, continuously improve processes, and effectively guide cross-functional teams are all areas which I can excel in. I believe you'll find my work at PREVIOUS POSITION to not only hold merit, but serve as proof positive of my ability to consistently surpass expectations."
Using this approach keeps your suitability for the job at the forefront of a reader's mind. Note the subtle mentioning of a relevant previous position, which invites the reader to pick up your resume for more details.

5) CLOSE WITH AN OPENING
It's important to close a Thank You Letter in a way that invites further communication. Here is a sample:
"Please accept this letter of appreciation for meeting with me to discuss the position. I remain confident that my qualifications are an excellent match for your needs, and look forward to speaking with you again soon."

Use these tips to help create a Thank You Letter that works for you. And remember to send one after every interview, no exceptions!

Article Source:EzineArticles.com

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