Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thank You Letters - Why Write Them?

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We live in a day and age where receiving a thank you almost comes as a surprise. We all crave appreciation, yet we seem to dish out very little of it. Far too few job applicants realize just how much a thank you means after a job interview. Often the individual who has interviewed you is performing a thankless task. Taking the time to say thank you is an opportunity to make a difference in that person's day.

Other Benefits From Writing a Post-interview Thank You
1. You can turn what seemed like a disastrous interview around.
Your perception of how an interview went isn't always accurate. Especially when you are interviewed by a team, one person can dominate the room. Yet that person might not actually be the decision maker. Here's the type of information you want to include in your thank you letter.
  • Emphasize some of the good points that came through in the interview.
  • Add new information. It's not uncommon to walk away from an interview and have all the good answers you wish you had thought of pop into your head. Answer those questions.
  • Find a way to diffuse any issues that may have been raised during the interview, especially if you weren't given adequate opportunity to present an adequate, but tactful rebuttal.
2. You demonstrate that you are a professional.When you write a polite thank you letter, you demonstrate that you are a true professional. Even if you feel like you really embarrassed yourself, a professional thank you is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have the ability to regain your composure.

3. You set yourself apart.
You have no idea how many of the interviewees will write a post-interview thank you. What you do know is this. If you write one, you increase your chances of setting yourself apart from the crowd.
It is incredibly rare for people to write thank you notes anymore. Before you leave, make sure you have the mailing address and name of the person (or individuals) who interviewed you. Emails are okay. But they just don't carry the same weight as a letter or card.

Recognize that the interview was an opportunity. And opportunities deserve gratitude. Take the time to express your appreciation, and it will stand out in the interviewer's mind. You may not land the position you interviewed for, but you haven't closed the door to a future opening in the company. There's a saying, "Cast your bread upon the waters, and after many days it will return to you."
Developing the habit of expressing gratitude in writing is a worthwhile habit. In being grateful to others, you make it easier for them to be gracious to you. It might even result in a job.


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