Effective Thank You Notes
Published: May 15, 2014
In a previous article titled:
I wrote about the big difference Thank You notes can make in the job search process. They can have great sway with a networking contact, a recruiter, or potential employer.
The degree of sway it has, however, has a lot to do with the likelihood it will be read. A note that isn’t read, has minimal impact. There is still a positive impression made, however, it’s not likely to make much more difference beyond that.
Adhering to a few concepts when crafting a note can greatly improve its effectiveness…
Brevity is a virtue!
As mentioned in multiple pieces I’ve written… Brevity is a virtue! Writing concisely, in “short-substantive soundbites”, makes for better cover letters, resumes, and thank you notes.
We live in an information-rich world. Business people in particular and bombarded daily with things to read… a seemingly endless stream of emails, letters, memo’s, news, and reports. Most business people quickly learn that it’s impossible to thoroughly read everything, so they decide what’s important, and what they can skim, or skip altogether.
When a new email, letter, card, or other form of written communication comes in they look at it and make a decision quickly. If it’s long, with big blocks of text, the likelihood that it will be read in any depth is infinitesimal. Unless it’s critical to the current work they are doing, they will likely do a very brief scan, and move on to their next message.
They’ll notice who it came from, and they’ll think well of the person that sent it. However… no matter how powerfully it was written, if it isn’t read, it has no impact!
If they look at the message and see that it’s a quick read, the likelihood of them reading it in its entirety increases dramatically. Brevity is a virtue!
Professionalism and conscientiousness matter
Even when a meeting or interview went exceptionally well, the conversation flowed easily, and things just seemed to click personally… the decision to refer someone to another professional contact, or to hire them, is still a business decision.
A Thank You note that is too assumptive about a relationship, too casual, or careless can do more harm than good.
Write the note with a professional tone and respect. Be very careful to write well. No mistakes, typo’s, or texting acronyms… “ROTFL” does not convey professionalism!
When a networking contact thinks about referring someone to another contact they know, or when an employer considers hiring someone, they think about whether the person will improve their own professional reputation or not. An overly informal or careless note can be deleterious!
Briefly accentuate one key qualification
Highlighting a particular skill, strength, or characteristic that is a critical requirement for the role is an effective way of reminding them of the value you bring. Rehashing a number of minor qualifications does little, to nothing, to confirm your fit. However, reminding them of a qualification that is at the heart of the need for the role goes a long way to solidify credibility!
What it looks like…
An example of an effective note, letter, or email may look something like:
Thanks again for your time and consideration at our meeting today!
Thank you, also, for sharing details of the challenges you’ve been facing in the implementation of the new ERP system. We faced comparable challenges in gathering requirements from key stakeholders. In the process, I learned how to lead tighter meetings and put a greater focus on results while continuing to build strong working relationships.
The opportunity to put the skills I learned into practice in your organization is very appealing to me. I look forward to hearing from you and taking next steps soon!
Short, direct, and with one impactful selling point.
An effective Thank You note can have a wonderfully positive affect on your prospects of a job offer. Send them every time, and do them right!
Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.