Have you ever come home from a round of relaunch interviews and all you wanted to do was kick off your shoes, take off your suit and relax on the living room sofa? After all, interviews require extensive preparation and a tremendous output of energy. After some rest and recovery, you likely fired off that obligatory thank you note. You’d written it dozens of times before: "Dear Mr. Jones: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about the [X] position at [Y Company]. I found your description of the position to be very exciting and would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the [Z] team. I look forward to hearing from you soon.” Next time, don’t hit Send. Sending a cookie cutter thank you note such as the one above is like closing the door on your job candidacy. It basically announces: ‘I’m done. It’s over.’ Actually, it’s not necessarily over. You can keep the door ajar and continue to influence and impress an employer by following up with a more detailed, substantive letter (and possibly including other items, as discussed below). To prepare to write this, you first have to lay some groundwork:
Follow up letters should be brief (one to two paragraphs) and sent via email within 24 hours after your interview. They not only add substantively to your candidacy but they show that you are proactive, organized and enthusiastic. In addition, I’ve heard several stories recently of candidates being turned down for a position after an interview, only to hear from the employer several weeks or months later about another opening. So even if your interview doesn’t land you a position today, great follow up could earn you points for future opportunities. Given that most candidates simply write one dimensional thank you notes like the one above, adopting this strategy can enable you to truly stand out!
Carroll Welch is an executive, leadership and career coach certified by GetFive. She supports professionals in all industries on issues involving career and leadership development, transition and reentry. Carroll has extensive experience and expertise supporting relaunchers in planning job searches and anticipating obstacles as they seek to return to the paid workforce after a career break. Carroll serves as an Affiliate Coach for organizations and programs that support relaunchers; she was also a director of New Directions, an attorney reentry program, for several years.
Prior to becoming a coach, Carroll was a practicing attorney at two major law firms where her work included the representation of management on employment law issues. Carroll received a certificate in Executive and Organizational Coaching from New York University, and is a member of the International Coach Federation and holds their Associate Certified Coach credential. She is a Forbes Coaches Council Member and Contributor and credentialed in the GetFive job search methodology platform. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. She serves as a mentor and member of the board of directors of Campus Bound Scholars, a nonprofit that supports first generation college bound students.