You just finished an interview. It went really well, you are super excited and can’t wait to hear whether you move on to the next steps or, better yet, get the job offer.
So what do you do? Do you go home and wait? Maybe apply to some other jobs just in case?
Do you send a thank you email to your interviewers?
Probably not. How do I know? I spent 15 years recruiting, and I know that the majority of the people I interviewed did not email me. I also know from Hiring Managers that they don’t receive too many.
Which shocks me. This is job search 101, isn’t it? But I think most people think it is a worthless exercise.
But it isn’t.
What it does is shows you want this job. It acts as a reminder of why you are a great fit for the job, how you connected with your interviewer and keeps you in their mind.
And it only takes a minute or two of your time. So well worth it!
Another reason why people don’t do it, is they just don’t know how. What should they write, when should they send it and who should they send it to?
Well I’m here to break all that down for you, to make it even easier and to arm you all the answers to these questions.
What Should I Write?
So I'm going to make this really easy for you, I'm going to give you the perfect thank you email template that you can customize:
Opening Paragraph – thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Throw in a compliment or reference some shared hobby/experience/person.
2nd paragraph – how you are the best fit for the role with an outline of 3 skills/experience that you bring to the table, if you can tie it into a current problem or challenge that they are facing, then even better! You can also throw in a quick example of how your skill set, knowledge and experience will help you exceed their expectations.
Final paragraph – talk about how excited you are to join their team and finish with a call to action (scheduling next steps or offer).
When Do you Send it?
There are a lot of opinions out there on when. I recommend sending it 24-48 hours later (unless you have some other intel that would change that up).
And I have some very specific reasons for this and it all has to do with psychology! I’m going to lay it all out here from the interviewer’s perspective (a perspective I know well since I’ve interviewed SO MANY candidates!)
As an interviewer, when you have a great interview you leave it on a high note and you feel so excited. So while it wouldn’t hurt to receive a thank you letter shortly after the interview, the significance of the value added isn’t maximized.
The next day that excitement has waned, it has nothing to do with the candidate and more to do with just normal human emotions. And each day that goes on it decreases. But getting a well crafted thank you email will remind you of the great connection you had and bring back those feelings of excitement maximizing the significance of the thank you email value.
Now when I talk about other intel – I'm thinking about the timing of your interview and other interviews.
If you interview on a Friday and it went amazing, send the Thank You email on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. So 24-48 business hours after and ensuring it doesn’t get lost in a bunch of email if the hiring manager doesn’t check over the weekend.
If they mention the timing of other candidate interviews then be very strategic in when you email them that thanks. Say you interview on a Thursday and they mention that it may be a week or two for you to get feedback as they are interviewing candidates the end of next week then I would send the Thank You email the Wednesday. That way you are reminding them of how wonderful you are right before they are going in to more interviews.
Who do you send it to?
Every single person that interviewed you. And you would create a personalized email for each (don’t send 1 thank you email to 2-3 interviewers).
If you don’t have their email addresses, you have a few options. The first would be to email the person who coordinated the interviews (typically a recruiter) to ask them to forward the email on. If you know of anyone’s email addresses within the organization, you can use the same format to email directly. Or you could hit up LinkedIn and send a connection request!
A thank you email is such a small thing and only takes a few minutes of your time. The benefit it adds to your job search is tremendous. It increases the likelihood of you getting hired. But it also opens up a dialogue meaning that it increases the likelihood that if you don’t get the job that you can receive feedback and even maybe convert the relationship into a networking one!
Everyone wants to succeed. Their definition of success may be different, but that desire is the same.
The journey to success used to be simple. You worked hard, you made the right connections, and you put your hand up. And what made it even easier was that you did it within the hours of 9-5pm at the physical office you worked at.
Our world isn’t like that anymore, it has changed. People work all hours of the day, flexible work arrangements are on the rise and we work with teams and individuals virtually more than ever.
So we can’t lean on the old way of finding success as the only way anymore, we have to implement some new strategies and think about our path differently.
Being a committed employee who exceeds expectations is still vital to any definition of success, but how you share that message is different. And that is where it gets more challenging.
We need to think of ourselves not as an employee but as a product.
This is so hard for us. It is one of the biggest reasons why people come to me to rewrite their resume and LinkedIn profiles and to provide interview coaching. We are so immersed in our careers that it is so hard to only focus on what matters.
We forget that we aren’t creating a chapter book but instead a marketing plan. I love to use the analogy of a magazine. What is it about you that will grab someone’s attention to stop at your ad within the magazine? You don’t need to tell them everything you just need to tell them what about you fits their needs.
The foundation of every marketing plan is a branding message, and in the case of your career, a personal brand. The personal brand is your messaging that shows the world your personality, your goals and your differentiating factor aka the value you bring to the table.
Your brand sends a message and creates an impression. One that extends beyond your work, your LinkedIn page or your interactions with your colleagues.
You may think that creating a personal brand just isn’t for you, especially if you are not even in marketing! But it is a super simple exercise.
Here are six questions for you to ask yourself that will result in a personal brand that lets everyone know how amazing you are.
1. What does success mean to me?
You need to get clear on your goals. On your own definition for success. Remember to clear the noise of societal pressures and messages. You don’t have to want something just because society or family makes you feel like you should want it.
2. What matters most to me?
This is a hard question to answer because it requires some digging. I want you to think about what you value most – in your work, in others (colleagues, management), in yourself. When you think of your definition of success, what type of impact does that lead you to? Think back on your performance reviews, what feedback mattered most to you (made you really happy or upset).
3. What is my story?
This is a quick story, a 1-2 sentence story. One that is cohesive and quickly shows off who you are, what you have done and where you want to go. Don’t forget to show off you, the authentic you not the cookie cutter you. So make sure you are genuine when crafting your story.
4. Where am I going?
Now it is time to focus on your future. How do your goals lines up with your definition of success? Are you looking at a promotion, a career pivot or a complete career change? Maybe your goals have nothing to do with the actual job but more the type of workplace – one where you can work from home, or set up a new business. Be clear on your destination.
5. What matters to my target audience?
When you know what you want, then you can have a clearer picture of who will be a decision maker on your future. Think about what matters to them. What skills, knowledge and experience do they want?
6. How can I tie it all together?
You know what you offer. And you know what your audience wants. So now you need to craft a message that reflects what they want. Your message should hopefully convince them that you are the person to give them what they need.
These six questions leave you knowing your value in a nutshell! This is the message you will weave throughout your marketing plan, including your LinkedIn profile, your elevator pitch, your resume and cover letter or a talent profile.
You will also weave it throughout your networking with your current network and with new contacts. When speaking with key decision makers, make sure you include some of these talking points casually into the conversation.
This foundation will allow you to build a successful career, one that will stand the test of time.
Do you want to talk through your personal brand? Set up a complimentary strategy call with me to go over it.
A couple of weeks ago we had a long weekend here in Ontario with Family Day falling on Monday. My husband, Justin, and I took it as an opportunity for a quick weekend getaway, heading up to cottage country to spend some time in winter wonderland!
During our weekend we did two grueling snow shoe hikes in snow that went up to our thighs (thank goodness for those snow shoes!) going up and down “mountains” for some spectacular views. At the top of one of climbs Justin turned back to me and said ‘you should write about this, about overcoming obstacles’. And from that point on, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels of our journey in the woods to the journey to a career change.
During our hikes, there were many times when it just seemed so easy and so much fun. I was on top of the world, taking in the beautiful scenery, enjoying the time with Justin and feeling like nothing was going to stop me, that I “got this”. And then that would change. Maybe it was a steep hill to climb up or down, or just fatigue setting in. But no matter what it came. The hard times. When it was harder to move forward.
That’s life though isn’t it? A series of highs and lows. So why wouldn’t be a career change be the same thing? I know that isn’t something we want to hear and sometimes the message out there is that a career change is so easy, just sell your transferable skills and of course it will happen for you!
But it doesn’t work like that. It takes a lot of hard work. A LOT. Which means that you need to be persistent. It also means that you will need to be resilient because you will face more rejection than a normal job search.
And it isn’t like a hike. Where you are descending a steep hill only to fall. Or even a normal job search where nothing seems to be going right. But when you are hiking or in a normal job search you can’t give up, it isn’t an option. You have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off again and keep at it.
But a career change is different. Chances are you are in a job right now. You may hate your job but you are in one nonetheless, so quitting is an option.
Which is why it is so common to give up. I know because I gave up. I’m coming up on 10 years from being laid off from my first job, the job that when I left I said I was going to go into career coaching. But didn’t. Because it was too hard. When I did get my first job in career coaching I left to go back to recruiting. Because that opportunity wasn’t right for me. But instead of finding one that worked, I gave up. And it took 4 more years before I finally said enough was enough. Before I realized how to make this career dream work for me. Before I committed and went all in. All in on the highs. All in on the lows.
What was different this time, is that I prepared myself for the lows. So that when I failed or was facing something that seemed impossible, I had a survival guide to help me through it.
In my survival guide, I focused on some key areas that I knew had tripped me up in the past or had a feeling could trip me up in the future. Today, I want to share this guide with you so that you are equipped to survive the lows of the career change journey, so that you won’t give up on your dreams.
SURVIVAL TIP ONE: GAIN CLARITY
One of the things that held me back in the past was that I just wasn’t positive what I wanted, career coaching had always been an interest but was it the one? At one point in my career change (about 6 years ago), I had a list of 20 career options! So it was so hard to commit to a career change when I wasn’t too sure what that career change was exactly. But once I went through some self-reflection work I finally gained that clarity allowing me to finally commit to it.
SURVIVAL TIP TWO: FIND MY MOTIVATION
I knew that there would be times when my motivation just wasn’t there. Where I struggled to show up. So I would refer back to my goals – why I was doing this. I would visit my Pinterest page for motivation and inspiration. I would cut myself some slack, if I needed a day to take care of me than I would take that day!
SURVIVAL TIP THREE: BUILD SUPPORT
I tend to be a lone wolf. I like to do things myself and then say “voila” and present it to the world, I don’t tend to invite people in while I’m trying to accomplish something. I knew that had been a problem in the past so I was determined to not be like that this time. It started small, just letting my husband in on the idea and then slowly telling family, friends and then putting it out there on a more public scale. This was SO HARD for me, but it helped me with accountability.
I also built a support system around me with a Business Coach and mentors (other career coaches) so that I could learn all the ins and outs of starting this business and how to be the best career coach. When I had a question I knew I could count on them to help me out.
SURVIVAL TIP FOUR: PREPARE FOR FEAR
I knew that fear was inevitable. In the past fear would tell me I wasn’t good enough, or had me doubting my abilities or terrify me about the prospect of failure. And I would listen and quit. But not this time. I prepared myself to acknowledge fear but also to ignore it!
SURVIVAL TIP FIVE: CARVE OUT TIME
Time was definitely a factor. Now my career change wasn’t completely typical since I started my own business but I didn’t quit my job and launch into it. No, I had to juggle the starting my new business with my recruitment job. And I was still concerned about the same things in my Job Search Roadmap, marketing, networking, selling myself. So I had to be creative with my time management. There were many early mornings or late nights, and busy lunch breaks. And while I was committed, I was also forgiving of myself for those weeks or months (I didn’t write a single article in November or December of 2017!) when I just didn’t have as much time as I wanted to devote to the job search.
A career change is more than possible. When you are ready to put in the work and to commit to getting through those lows then it isn’t a matter of if but a matter of when.
If you are going through a change and want to add to your support system, reach out and schedule a Discover Your Career Strategy call. I look forward to helping you survive the lows of the career change journey.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
Dream Career Planner
Click HERE to download