By Angela Copeland
The holidays are here again. Along with the turkey, stuffing, and loved ones, there’s more to consider. This season is a time of giving thanks. One of the topics I’m often asked to speak about is personal branding. And, part of your personal brand comes across in the way that you say thank you to others. After you interview for a new job, it’s always a good idea to say thanks. For the most part, I think we can all agree on this idea. But, the question is really – how do exactly do you do it? What’s the best way to say thank you, and what are you saying thank you for?
Think of yourself as a salesperson. You’re selling your services. The company and the hiring manager – they are your customer. You may say, “But, Angela – I really put a lot of work into the interview. It was not easy on me at all.” I get that, and I don’t disagree with you. But, the hiring manager is still the customer, and they will ultimately make the decision on whether or not you’re hired. With that in mind, saying thanks is critical.
The very best solution is to two fold. First, send a thank you email the afternoon after your interview. Then, write a hand written note to drop in the mail. The company may make a decision quickly, so the email ensures your message will get there in time. The handwritten note however is the one that will make you really stand out from your competition. In all likelihood, you will be the only candidate who sent a handwritten note.
Each email and each handwritten note should be personal and sent to just one person. Ideally, send one to each person who interviewed you along the way. The note itself should be brief. You want to thank the person for interviewing you, and if possible, mention something from your conversation. But, stay positive. If you are afraid the interview went badly, this isn’t the time to bring it up. The most important thing is to say thanks.
During a presentation I recently gave on this topic, someone in the audience asked a great question. “In the age of the internet, is it really important to send something that’s handwritten?” The answer is yes. Hiring decisions are not made on the internet. They’re made in real life. People hire people. And, they hire people who they like. The more that you can remember this, the more you’ll increase your odds at landing a job offer.
An online thank you card doesn’t replace a hand written note. I’m sure you may remember the last time you received a hand written thank you note. You may even still have it somewhere. I know that I do. I appreciate these notes, and I keep them. So do other people – including hiring managers. They will keep your hand written message and it will influence them in both this decision, and in the future.
Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.