It’s a fact that the process of job-hunting is essentially a marketing exercise, where, with all other things being equal, the most strategic marketer will win the job.
The competition for good jobs is tough; and with many excellent applicants competing for a limited number of jobs, it’s crucial to the success of your job search marketing plan that you make the most of every opportunity to stand out from the competition.
An easy way to build your brand in the eyes of your interviewer or interview panel, but surprisingly, one that is followed by very few job applicants, is to follow up each interview you attend with a simple thank-you letter.
Apart from demonstrating your knowledge of workplace etiquette, following up an interview with a thank you letter can be used to reinforce your position as the outstanding candidate in a number of other, less obvious ways. You can use a thank-you letter to:
Focus the thoughts of the interviewer or panel on you
Highlight the areas in which you can value add to the job and
Mention anything you forgot to discuss at interview
Thank you letters should be succinct, and strategically written; three paragraphs are adequate. Your focus in drafting the letter should be on reinforcing your message about why you are the best applicant and what you can bring to the organisation.
The first paragraph should be used to thank the interviewer or the panel for the opportunity to attend the interview. In the next paragraph, you should reiterate the areas in which you could value add to the position, and you could also include any relevant information you forgot to mention at interview. The last paragraph should thank the interviewer or panel once again and indicate that you are looking forward to hearing from them in due course.
While some consultants suggest that you should send a thank you letter to each member of an interview panel, I disagree. I believe it is more professional to write directly to the Chair, because that demonstrates a stronger understanding of Australian corporate protocols than writing directly to panel members. Also, the impact of a thank you letter is somewhat lessened if everyone on the panel receives an identical copy.
Should you send a thank you letter after second and subsequent interviews? Yes – the content of your first thank you letter could have been one of the elements that helped to swing opinion in your favour. Subsequent thank you letters should be tailored to the interviews to which they relate, because each preceding letter is likely to be included in your interview file and will be read by future interviewers and panellists.
It is best to send a thank-you letter as soon as you are able after an interview, so that it is received preferably within 24 hours and definitely within three days of the interview, as the decision making process could be well underway by then.
As a job seeker in our competitive employment market, can you afford not to use every means at your disposal to differentiate yourself from your competition? Try sending a thank you letter after your next interview – it could make all the difference!