Today I came across an article by the managing editor of Business Insider that reiterated something my mother taught me at a young age:
Thank you notes matter.
When I was in college, searching for my first job in business, I wrote these on the typewriter in my room. In each note, I was sure to do all of the following:
- Spell the interviewer’s name properly
- Say something that indicated I remember what we discussed in the interview
- Reiterate my interest in the position
- Say something about why I would be a good fit for the job
All of this was done with proper block format and then I signed the letters by hand. These letters were always mailed within a day or two. Waiting more than a week was considered lax.
It’s not surprising, in the digital age, that emailing such a letter is considered acceptable. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should slip into sloppy habits like those you’d use when emailing friends. Despite the temptation to think of it as just a causal missive, you always have to remember that you will be judged one more time by the content and style of this email. In fact, as this article points out, your worst mistake of all is not bothering to send one.
Whether you’re applying for an administrative, a technical, or an executive job, give this article a look. It provides compelling evidence that even those of us who do not envision using writing in their careers are still going to need to express themselves clearly and persuasively to get ahead.