5 Reasons to Send Thank You Letters

May 11, 2011

5 Reasons to Send Thank-You Letters

This targeted self-marketing tool can get you to the next round.

By Barbara Safani

Think of thank-you letters as a self-marketing tool and a critical component of your job-search strategy. The time you invest crafting a targeted thank-you letter after an interview is time well spent, and it will help you create a credible and efficient search.

Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons why you should incorporate thank-you letters into your search strategy:

  1. A thank-you letter creates an opportunity to re-connect with employers.
    Chances are you aren’t the only candidate being interviewed for an open position. Writing a follow-up letter allows you to build a relationship with the interviewer and develop rapport. By expressing your gratitude for the interview and recapping the highlights of the meeting, you revisit the reasons why you are the best fit for the position.
  2. Following up keeps your candidacy top of mind.
    A candidate often makes the mistake of putting too much control in the interviewer’s hands. He believes that if he’s the best candidate, the interviewer will remember him and keep him in the loop regarding the selection process. Unfortunately, this doesn’t often happen. It’s critical that a candidate remind prospective employers of his interest in a position. The thank-you letter is the perfect vehicle for communicating this interest.
  3. Written correspondence gives you another chance to sell your strengths.
    While the thank-you letter expresses gratitude for the meeting, it also serves a much more strategic purpose. It provides an opportunity for the candidate to present her skills and accomplishments in another format and market the value she’ll add to the employer.
  4. The document enables you to address points you neglected to discuss during the interview.
    Many candidates, after leaving the interview, think of other things they could have said during the meeting. Don’t label this a liability; turn it into an asset by discussing these points in the thank-you letter. Remind the reader of your ability to produce similar results for their organization.
  5. A letter helps develop rapport and increases the employer’s comfort level in your candidacy.
    A good strategy is to recap a part of the conversation where you and the interviewer shared similar views on a job-related topic. The thank-you letter can also be a forum for demonstrating your consultative problem-solving skills. By addressing current issues the employer is facing and proposing solutions, you are contributing to the company’s success even before you are onboard.

Thank-you letters continue to be an important component of a successful job-search campaign. But the focus has shifted from a simple courtesy and show of appreciation to a targeted self-marketing tool. By creating a letter that validates your candidacy, builds rapport and reminds the reader of your value added, you can significantly influence potential employers and — most importantly — increase your chances for subsequent interviews.

By Barbara Safani

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