© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
More than just a polite formality, the job interview follow-up letter can be one of the more powerful weapons in your job search process. The key is to include the basic information which every other candidate will send, but add an extra element which sets you apart from the rest of the competition. That element is the "gift" that goes with the job interview follow-up letter that you send. This gift does not need to be anything tangible. In fact a gift of a material good is likely to be considered a bribe and highly insulting to the interviewer. Instead, that gift should be in the form of information. A tip, an article, a reference, a suggestion, a contact, a link to a website. Any one of these things, if appropriate, makes a fine gift.
The basic form of the job interview follow-up letter is little more than a thank you note, combined with an expression of continued interest in the position. If you send merely that kind of note, you already put yourself in the top half of candidates for the position, by virtue of demonstrating your business etiquette and thoughtfulness. However, it's possible to go even further, should you be willing to take the extra effort. The first step of this extra effort is to pay close attention to the topics and subjects of the interview, and to make notes of all the things the interviewer discussed with you.
You are going to use those notes when you begin adding your gift to the job interview follow-up letter. Those notes and topics are the things which you will use to discover what the interviewer is most interested in learning more about. These topics might come from the business and professional topics which you discussed or might come from the personal and small talk you engaged in apart from the serious interview topics. For instance, if the interviewer speaks about the company's efforts to take on a new client or kind of work, you might be able to find a business press article or even a bog about another company's efforts to meet a similar challenge.
In a similar manner the gift that accompanies your job interview follow-up letter might be about something completely unrelated to business. If your interviewer mentions his or her travel plans or a hobby the two of you share, that would be a natural place to look for information or a tip which relates to that location or interest. Whether professional or personal, this information can accompany the job interview follow-up letter with a simple line like "I enjoyed our talk about (the topic). Here's an article about this subject which I thought you might find interesting." Adding this extra element to the follow- up letter will make you stand out as someone who is attentive, but who is generous and considerate, as well.
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