Advance Your Career With These Two Words

Drum roll please . . .

Thank you.

Those are the two words. Thank you. From the end of your first interview to the conclusion of your retirement party, those two words can do more to advance your career and endear you to the hearts of your bosses, co-workers, and subordinates than many others. Saying them isn’t always enough. Consistently writing genuine thank you notes can help you build your professional success in enumerable ways, and I believe that they are very important right after a job interview.

When you thank someone for taking the time to interview you and educate you on a potential career opportunity, you’re setting yourself up as a team player, someone who knows and understands the importance of other people in your success. The written thank you note is an essential job-seeking technique as well as a gesture of courtesy. Always make sure you write your thank you note immediately after the interview and before a decision has been made. It’s a good idea to write it in the lobby, immediately after you’ve left the interview. The details are fresh in your mind at that point. What should you say?

1. Say what you liked about the interview, the company, the opportunity, and the position.
2. Remind the interviewer how you are particularly suited for the job.
3. Diffuse any concerns about your qualifications that surfaced during the interview.
4. Go ahead and mention issues that you didn’t have the opportunity to discuss, but remember that the purpose of the thank you note is to say thank you.
5. If you had a particularly friendly interviewer, you might include a reference to something you talked about unrelated to the interview (sports, common interests, or family).

Remember that it is entirely possible that more than one person was responsible for setting up the interviews logistics. Someone had to set up the appointment, process the pre-interview paperwork, actually do the interview, then process any post-interview paperwork. Someone may have taken you on a tour of the plant or office to “show you around.” Those people will appreciate a little recognition as well. You don’t have to send a note to everyone, but a spirit of gratitude is rarely ignored.

Some letter writing gurus advise you to leave off the “thanks again” that concludes so many thank-you notes. But, it is a popular and kindhearted way of reminding the interviewer of the purpose of your note. Use it if it suits you.

A Sample Thank You Note

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you this afternoon and discussing the opportunity to lead a team of software developers for ABC Company. I was thrilled find you were seeking someone with my skill set, experience, and education for that position. I was also impressed by the strong team of developers ABC Company has already been able to assemble. Thanks so much for your time and for the interview.

You can email your thanks, but in most cases, it’s not as impressive. A handwritten thank you note is personal and has a formality that email lacks. However, if the company you’re interviewing with tends to do business by email and if most of your contact with the company have been through email, then it’s definitely the way to go. After you’re hired, you can send the handwritten thank you notes to the interviewers, your new boss, or anyone else you contacted in the interview process. Saying thanks is one of the least expensive and easiest strategies to create a favorable environment for yourself wherever you go.

“Anyone too busy to say ‘thank you’ will get fewer and fewer chances to say it.”
—Harvey Mackay