In a world of emails, tweets, texts and deletes, it’s hard to make yourself stand out in the mass of communications. Interviewers, professors, school guidance counselors and pretty much everyone else who has helped in your job or college search are people with whom you need to make a great impression — and a quick thank-you card can make all the difference.
Most people don’t recognize the importance of a thank-you letter, and how it can leave that long-lasting impression that you need. Here’s a simple how-to guide to the easiest letter that will put you on the top of any list:
Do address it specifically to the person with whom you interviewed or talked. By taking the time to search for his or her mailing address, you show initiative.
Don’t send it blindly to the company without a person’s name — your thoughtfully written note will likely be lost in the shuffle.
Do take time to draft your thank-you note before the final draft and include specifics from your interactions with the person to whom you are addressing. Specific details express your appreciation for everything he or she has done for you.
Don’t only write three sentences thanking them for his or her time/effort/recommendation before closing. Short letters reflect how little time you put into it, and show a lack of gratitude.
Do write your thank-you on nice stationery paper. Printer paper just isn’t going to cut it for the people who are helping you achieve your goals. Target has some great options that are both cheap and appropriate.
Don’t use the stationery your parents gave you for thank-you cards when you were little. Bugs and butterflies don’t exactly express professionalism. Something simple and clean cut is perfect.
Do sign the letter with your full name. Interviewers may not remember you as simply a first name, as they’ve seen lots of people, and you want your name to be the one they remember when it comes to decision time.
Don’t close with a simple “Thanks!” Take the time to open the door for future communications by ending with something along the lines of, “I look forward to working with you in the future.”
After every interview, I make a point to write a thank-you card to the person with whom I spoke, and it has definitely paid off. Even when I wasn’t offered the job, they referred my name to other people in the company who had open positions, simply because I took the time to say “Thanks.” By thanking the people who have written recommendations for me, I’ve left doors open that have led to future opportunities.
Snail mail is definitely underappreciated in our tech-centered society. Let’s face it — who doesn’t love getting letters in the mail? Showing appreciation by taking the time to write a thank-you card could be the difference between a yes and a no.
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