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Thank You Lerters Are a Waste of Time!

Jul 6, 2008

When I was in graduate school, I had a friend who interviewed at fortune 500 companies and succeeded at landing a great job. One day,I saw him sitting in the student union with a stack of cards. The cards said "thank you". He opened each card and signed his name. The inside of the card was blank.

I asked him what he was doing and he told me that it was important to send a 'thank you' to every person you interviewed with. He believed that that was the difference between getting the job and being passed over.

Today we know better. Networkers will tell you that a 'thank you' letter us a misnomer for a strategic follow-up letter that is now called a Post Interview Letter. The post interview letter is a valuable marketing tool you can use to restate your case and keep yourself in front of the interviewer.

My post interview letters contain four paragraphs:

#1 - The Thank you. Yes - you still need to thank the interviewer for inviting you in. Make it two sentences maximum.

Example - "thank you for the opportunity to interview for the abc position at Company X yesterday. I appreciate the time and attention you provided me".

#2 - Problem Identification - This is where you begin your sales pitch. The purpose of this paragraph is to tell the interviewer that you understand their concerns.

Example - " At our interview, you expressed a major challenge/concern about safety in the zoo. Your chief concern was to improve the general safety and welfare of the animals, trainers, and public. I also agree that the overall safety of the zoo is of paramount importance and if I am hired as a zoo trainer, I would initiate the following plan."

#3 - The Solution - In paragraph #2 you connected with the interviewer and acknowledged their concerns. You proved that you were an active listener' and not just a bobble head. In this paragraph, you provide the solution in 3 easy steps.

Example - "Over the last five years I have worked as an assistant zoo trainer. I have developed a tactical plan to minimize accidents and maximize safety.

Step 1: Make sure the animals are feed and relaxed.
Step 2. Enforce a safe perimeter between the animals and the public.
Step 3: Develop a high level of trust between the animals and the trainers.

I believe that this process will achieve your objectives".

Paragraph 3 is the most important one in the letter.
It provides a strategy to follow for your client.

It sends the message that you paid attention to his/her concerns and provided a solution to the problem presented at the interview.

Listening to the interviewer is the best 'thank you' you can provide.

#4 The Close - In this paragraph you restate the reason(s) you think you will be the best candidate for the job.

Example - " I believe that I am qualified for this job because I will be ready on day 1 to implement a plan that will improve the safety of the zoo. I look forward to the opportunity to work in your zoo and help you raise the level of safety for all."

The post interview letter above, is far more than a thank you letter. It is a strategic sales letter that convinces the employer that you can solve their problems.

The next time someone reminds you to send out a thank you letter, just say 'thanks'. Then, write your Post Interview Letter.
About the Author
Perry Maisin is a business communicator with 25 years of experience in resume writing, business process documentation, and technical staffing. Read informative articles on career testing, interviewing, and job tactics and strategy at Get Professional Advice Now!
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