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Your mother told you to do it, and now a new survey shows she was right: Sending a thank-you note not only displays impeccable manners but also may give job hopefuls an edge over other applicants. Eighty-eight percent of executives polled by Robert Half International said sending a thank-you note following an interview can boost a job seeker's chances of landing the position. Despite the overwhelming support for these notes, however, hiring managers estimate that almost half (49 percent) of applicants fail to send them.
A thank-you note allows you to accomplish three objectives: Express your appreciation for the opportunity; reinforce your interest in the job; and restate the value you can bring to the organization. And, often, composing a thank-you note takes less time than you may think since this type of message should be only a few paragraphs in length.
Here are some tips to remember the next time you compose a thank-you note following an employment interview:
Make it specific. To give your letter a personal touch, bring up specifics points from the conversation you had with the hiring manager. For example, if a prospective employer mentioned multiple times that the open position calls for strong knowledge of Microsoft Excel, use the thank-you note as an opportunity to remind the person that you've received a professional certification in this program. Even an offhand remark can serve as good fodder. If you discovered the hiring manager attended the same university as you, referencing this commonality could make for an interesting opening or close to your letter.
Write more than one if necessary. Many employers now involve multiple people in the hiring process to get a well-rounded view of applicants. If you interviewed with more than one hiring manager, send a thank-you note to each person. Address every letter to a specific individual, even if you have to do some research to uncover the spelling of someone's name or locate his or her contact information. Also make sure the content of each letter differs, at least slightly; hiring managers often compare notes -- literally.
Send a handwritten note. It's best to send a thank-you note within 24 hours of your interview. Consider sending a quick e-mail message as soon as you return home in order to meet this "deadline." But don't stop there. Follow up with a letter sent through the regular mail. Use high-quality stationery, and write the message by hand. This personal touch is likely to impress the hiring manager and help you stand out from other candidates, as well as present you with another opportunity to explain why you're right for the job.
Don't lose hope. Even if you doubt the interview went well, it's still wise to send a thank-you note. For one thing, the hiring manager may have felt the interview was more successful than you did. In addition, your display of courtesy and professionalism could work in your favor if you cross paths with the person again or another opening arises within the firm.
When vying for an attractive job, anything you can do to catch a hiring manager's attention can give you the edge. And sending a well-written thank-you note may be just the advantage you need.
Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. For more information about our professional services, please visit www.rhi.com.
Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM
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