By: Taunee Besson
Now that you’re pursuing your first professional position, you’ll want to stand out from your fellow graduates. While researching companies, targeting resumes and preparing for an insightful interview are crucial to landing the right job, there’s one more step you dare not neglect.
Follow Up Your Interview with a Thank-You Note
If you want to be a company’s top candidate, you must send a thank-you note to everyone who interviews you. Lest you consider this final piece of follow-up a trivial task, don’t confuse it with your mother’s bread-and-butter note. This letter is a strategic tool to put your name and qualifications in front of the potential employer while she’s making her hiring decision. Because so few job seekers bother to write one, those who do automatically move to the front of the pack. If there are two or three strong candidates, you can be sure she who writes the thank you note will get the job.
This Note is Similar to a Good Cover Letter
Like a great cover letter, an attention-getting thank you note has three main points:
Why you want to work for the company,
Why the organization should choose you over the competition and
When you can become a part of the team.
Focusing on the company’s needs and advantages gets you an interview, then impresses the people with the power to say yes. Now it will help you close the deal.
Compliment Your Potential Employer
Whether you interview with one person or several, each conversation has its memorable moments. Reminisce about them in your first paragraph. Tell your potential employer why her company is the ideal place to start your career, whether it’s her management style, opportunity for growth, exceptional products or services, unique culture or whatever most interests you. Reflecting on the attributes you both appreciate reminds her of the good feelings you’ve already shared.
Tell Her Why You Are the Best Person for the Position
Now that she’s settling into the warm glow of your admiration, reiterate your qualifications and enthusiasm for the job. Briefly outline the most important reasons why she should hire you. Tell her how you’ll contribute to the company and why she’ll never regret choosing you.
Overcome Potential Objections
If you’ve left the interview uneasy about the company’s concern about your lack of experience or specific skills, this is a good time to banish any lingering doubts. Emphasize once again how you have eliminated other temporary deficits through hard work, desire to learn and aptitude for the subject.
Go for the Close
If you really want the job, ask for it. Say something like, “I look forward to working with you and your team to build XYZ.com into the powerful B2B resource we all know it can be. Also mention you will be contacting your interviewer to touch base, if you haven’t heard anything by the date she promised to call. Sitting by the phone wondering what’s going on is both frustrating and depressing. Always give yourself the option to initiate a follow-up conversation.
Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979, which works with individual and corporate clients in career change; job search; executive, small business and life coaching; college major selection and talent management.
“One of the smartest minds in the career field,” according to Tony Lee (VP of CareerCast Operations at Adicio and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal’s Online Vertical Network), Besson began writing for the Dallas Times Herald in the early 80s. Having read several of her columns, Lee asked her to contribute regular articles to the Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly (NBEW) as well. Since then, she has been a triple award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com and Senior Columnist for CareerCast.com, as well as WorkingWoman.com and Oxygen.com. At Lee’s request, Besson authored five editions of NBEW’s Premier Guide to Resumes and three of its Premier Guide to Cover Letters. She has also written articles and/or been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money and Yahoo among others.
Taunee has worked on community nonprofit boards and committees for over 30 years including Girls Inc., Women’s Center of Dallas, Girl Scouts and Dallas Women’s Foundation, The Volunteers of America and Mortarboard, among others. She was a member of the Leadership Dallas in 1987 and Leadership America in 2003.
In 1994, the Dallas Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development chose her as its “Professional of the Year”. Her NBEW columns were selected for the “Ten Best Article Award” in 1990, 1994 and 1997. In 1999, Alpha Gamma Delta, a 200,000 member fraternal organization, named her as one of three “Distinguished Citizens” at its biannual international convention.Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.