Job Hunting 101 | Say thank you

'thank you note for every language' photo (c) 2010, woodleywonderworks - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Job hunting took longer than I’d prefer. And I’ve learned a few things in the process. Since contacts keep calling me for advice, I’m posting some of those lessons here.

Write thank you notes. No – not thank you emails. Handwritten missives for realz. There are times to go old school with the Pony Express: informational or job interview — those make the short list.

How much real mail do you get on any given day? Bills, catalogs, bulk rate mail, sure. Handwritten communication has practically gone the way of the dodo. Kids don’t even have to learn penmanship in school anymore because it’s just assumed they’ll all play a few rounds of Typer Shark to learn how to express themselves.

So imagine your interviewer getting a neatly written thank you on crisp stationery to break up the usual pile of continuing education flyers, office supply catalogs and invoices.

It makes an impression.

You want interviewers to remember you. Make the impression.

Buy some stationery that reflects your personality and your industry. Hot pink florals probably aren’t going to fly for an accounting job. But you might be able to find an understated color with a funky detail – like rounded corners – to make the note pop a bit more. In a more creative industry, have some fun with it.

Do your best to get thank you notes in the mail within 24 hours. Sometimes life happens and it takes a bit longer. Sometimes you just miss the boat entirely; if a thank you isn’t mailed out by the end of the business week, just let it go.

One last thing: thank you notes are also a good gauge of your interest. I know how interested I am in a job based on how easy it is to write a thank you note. If I just can’t come up with anything compelling to connect me to the work, it’s not going to be a good fit. In some cases, I intentionally don’t write the thank you because I really want to let that opportunity pass.

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