'Thank You.' 'You’re Welcome ... You’re Hired!'

With more than 13 million people still unemployed, job seekers are working every angle to try to get an edge.

Cheryl Zibisky | Getty Images

Well, it seems getting an edge doesn’t have to be any harder than listening to your mother when she told you mind your manners.

More than one in five (22 percent) of hiring managers said they are less likely to hire someone who doesn't send a thank-you note, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder.com.

What’s happening here? Have we technologically peaked and started down the path toward ink-dipped pens and wax-sealed letters? Please don't tell me that corsets are about to become the new power-interview suit.

Actually, it’s not about the thank-you note itself, your manners or masochistic fashion — it's what it says about you. Of those hiring managers who said not sending a thank-you note could be a dealbreaker, 86 percent said it was because not sending a thank-you note demonstrated a lack of follow-through, while 56 percent said it indicated that the candidate wasn’t really serious about wanting the job.

And we're not necessarily talking about an Old School hand-written note. You can send it that way, but 89 percent of the hiring managers surveyed said it's OK to send that thank-you note in email form. Some hiring managers, in fact, prefer email form as many don't check their snail mail that often.

"It is an expected business practice and shows the interviewer that the candidate is interested, courteous and respectful," said Julie Jansen, a career coach and the author of “I Don’t Know What I Want But I Know It’s Not This.”"It's also an opportunity for the candidate to further 'sell' themself or deal with any objections that may have come up in the interview and shows initiative to the potential employer," she said.

The most important thing when it comes to sending a thank-you note (or thank-you email) is to be prompt. The hiring pros at AllStarResume.com recommend sending it the same day as your interview. Wouldn’t you be impressed with someone who was on it that fast?

"You want interviewers to receive your note when you are fresh in their minds," said Marie McIntyre, a career coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.”"A thank-you note that shows up two weeks later is likely to convey the impression that you might not be very prompt as an employee."

What should you include in a thank-you note?

"Repeat, repeat, repeat,” CareerBuilder advises. Remember, the people who interviewed you are seeing multiple candidates, so while repeating what you or they said in the interview may seem redundant to you, to them, it’s a reminder of you and why you’re great for the job.

Restate your enthusiasm for the job and your qualifications for the position. Make sure you pluck out at least one thing that was specific to your interview, something they said about the position, about the firm, about the industry, etc. That way, they know you were paying attention and that you definitely want the job.

"Remember that a thank-you note is your final opportunity to make a good impression. Sending a generic one-size-fits-all note after every interview is the lazy way out," McIntyre said. "Interviewers will know that you’re just going through the motions and your note will have no impact."

"Make it succinct and interesting," Jansen added, "and no typos!"

Thank you for reading this post.

And thank you, mom, for the good advice.


Cindy Perman

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