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For job candidates seeking an edge, sending interviewers a customized thank-you is critical. Recruiters estimate that most candidates make the effort to send thank-yous, but only half go the extra mile to customize them for the job they're seeking.
If you're interviewing with several employers, check that each thank-you shows the correct company and recruiter name. After all, you don't want to accidentally send a thank-you addressed to, say, the company's competitor.
It's also important to be specific and show off your listening skills. If you discussed a particular trend or issue with the interviewer, mention it again in your thank-you or even include a link to a recent news story on the subject. This will show that you focused on what was going on during the interview and that you are serious about the opportunity.
Try tapping into the employer's culture. For example, a candidate for a job at Coca-Cola Co. signed his thank-you with the company slogan, "Have a Sweet Day." But no matter how laid-back an employer seems, keep your thank-you professional. Thank-yous with slang or funky spelling are unlikely to impress. Expressing some individuality is OK, but what an employer primarily wants to see is that the candidate knows proper business etiquette.
It's also important to write a thank-you to every executive you meet with during the interview process. Each letter should speak to your particular interaction with that person, particularly as executives may share your letters with one another. Think back to the topics discussed during each interview. You might say that it was really interesting to learn about a particular client or reference a similarity in your backgrounds that came up. For example, perhaps you discovered that you graduated from the same college as the interviewer.
In terms of the actual form of the thank-you, most recruiters agree that a paper, snail-mail thank-you is no longer required. Personalized, concise emails are just fine, provided they follow a few simple rules.
Avoid being too casual when it comes to communicating about career opportunities in cyberspace and on mobile devices. Don't send emails that contain shorthand language or decorative symbols. Likewise, refrain from sending hasty and poorly thought-out messages to and from mobile devices. Rather, a standard email gives hiring managers the sense that you sat down at your computer in a thoughtful way to follow up. Further, it's also inappropriate to try and thank interviewers on social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as is making a friend request. Interviewers are not candidates' friends and making such a gesture suggests a lack of professionalism.
To be sure, employers themselves are blurring the lines to some extent by using mobile and Web technology for recruiting. But when it comes to saying thanks, career experts recommend going the traditional route by using email to send interviewers a professional, concise and personalized note of appreciation.
- Personalize your thank-you with specific references to issues you discussed in the interview.
- Send each interviewer you spoke with a thank-you, but be sure they are individualized notes.
- Don't send thank-yous via text message or on social networking sites.
- When in doubt, keep it professional. Too much humor or casual language can turn recruiters off.
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