When hunting for a job you need to find ways to stand out.
One easy way to get a leg-up on your competition is to write a simple thank-you letter following the interview. Almost no one writes a thank-you letter and I think it is possibly the most overlooked step in the entire job-searching process.
Why is the thank-you letter so important?
Reason #1: It gives you an occasion to express gratitude for being given the opportunity to meet with the employer. In the business world, being polite and courteous still goes a long way.
Reason #2: Sending a “thank you” also gives you the chance to highlight key points about your background that are relevant to the job and to summarize why you are a good candidate.
Reason #3: It gives you the opportunity to point out any things that you may have forgotten to say during the interview. That happens to everyone: You leave an interview and say, “Darn, I forgot to tell them about …” By then it’s too late.
Reason #4: It helps the employer remember who you are. Sometimes employers will interview several candidates in one day and it becomes difficult to remember each one. By bringing up something that was discussed in the interview, you help the employer recall who you are.
Reason #5: Even if you’ve decided you don’t want that job, it leaves the door open to future opportunities. You never know when another opportunity may arise with that company that might interest you or whether they could recommend you to another company.
What should a thank-you letter look like? Here’s a sample of one I received from a candidate. I have edited it slightly to protect her identity. Note how she links her experiences and skill set to our client’s needs.
Dear Mr. Walsh,
Thank you for the interview yesterday. It was a pleasure speaking with you.
I would like to restate my keen interest in the Executive Director position. I have had similar responsibilities as those mentioned in the job description – strategic planning, operations, team management, financial management, project management, event planning, logistics, etc. However, I wanted to elaborate on three areas which you indicated were of great importance:
Relationship building – The core responsibility of my current role is relationship building. Since we work with local partners, we must build relationships with partners as well as coordinate with other humanitarian organizations present in the country. We also accompany our local partners to remote communities to engage community leaders, participate in needs assessments, and to monitor activities with community members.
Human resources – I wanted to reinforce that I have had to manage small teams of people. This includes being part of hiring process, doing performance reviews, and having to deal with difficult HR situations. I recognize a need for more experience in this area and am now taking an online course in leadership and management.
Fundraising – In addition to writing many successful funding proposals, I have supported our local partners in strengthening their capacities in resource mobilization, which is a broader concept that includes fundraising, accountability, and corporate partnerships. I have learned a lot on this topic that can be applied to the position to diversify the revenue sources for your client.
Finally, I would like to emphasize that I also offer motivation, dedication and creativity. I have many ideas of how I could apply my experience to innovate, market and diversify income for this organization. I would be very excited to have the opportunity to put these ideas into action.
Again, thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to a favourable reply with respect to be a part of the next step in this process.