The thank you note…important or insignificant?
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchNetworking
In honor of the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought it appropriate to comment on the use of thank you notes – especially when it comes to the job search.
How many times do you hear how important it is to send a thank you note after interviewing with a company? Should it be handwritten? Should it be sent over email? I used to think it was important too. Years ago, I interviewed for a company to be its VP of Marketing. After my final interview, I sent off my carefully worded thank you note along with a book (my favorite book of all time – Competing For The Future by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad). I got the job and was sure that my attention to detail certainly helped.
About a year into the job, I was in my boss’s office in Philadelphia and saw the book. I’d forgotten that I’d sent it to him, and was so impressed that he, too, read my favorite book (bold, yet incorrect, assumption on my part!). I opened it up, only to find my thank you note – seal intact – buried among the pages. He never read it (the book or the thank you note!). It was then that I realized it really didn’t matter. No one cares if you send a thank you note. If you’re the wrong fit, it won’t get you the job. If you’re the right fit, it won’t stop you from getting the job. It’s nice. It’s polite. It’s the right thing to do. But critical? I don’t think so.
That being said, I’ve learned a lot about thank you notes. And if you’re going to send one, you might want to consider this approach. Focus on sending a “you” letter. What’s a “you” letter? Let me first show you what’s NOT a “you” letter.
NOT A YOU LETTER
Thank you for your meeting with me. I was really impressed with your organization. I can see how working with you would be very interesting. I enjoyed the team approach and I could easily see me fitting within the organization.
I look forward to hearing from you about next steps.
A YOU LETTER
What an impressive organization you have! Your team approach is fascinating and unlike most of the industry. It’s amazing to see how the dynamic creates such incredible results.
Being an integral part of your expansion would be challenging and rewarding. When can we discuss next steps?
The concept of a “you” letter is focusing your statements on the person to which you’re writing. It’s all about them, and has nothing to do with you. It never starts sentences with the word “I”. It’s exciting and has enthusiasm with plenty of compliments and praise. And why not, who wants to receive a note full of negativity and criticisms?
The next time you meet with someone, do the polite thing and send them a thank YOU note. It won’t get you the job, but it might forge a stronger relationship.
And with that…I’d like to close this with a thank you note to my sister, Mary:
Thank you for hosting such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Eating at your house is always such a treat – mixed with just a little bit of adventure…pizza-oven roasted turkeys, sweet potato gnocchi in brown sugar and sage (the pilgrims have no idea what they were missing!), and 30+ people in an orderly line waiting to serve themselves after working up an appetite from the 23rd Annual Wendell Turkey Trot.
And it’s just not Thanksgiving without your incredible selection of homemade desserts. Katy couldn’t boast more about the cheesecake with chocolate frosting. And judging by the crumbs remaining…nor could anyone else.
Thank you for being my sister…oh, and making the best pecan pie ever!