When to Say “Thank You” in Your Job Search
There are many stages in your job search journey when people will help you, respond to your inquiries, or spend time with you. You are not on this journey alone, and you wouldn’t achieve your ultimate goal - landing a great job - without others being involved along the way. By expressing your thanks to them, you generate goodwill and a desire to help you further, as well as improve the chances of achieving job search success.
So, who should you say thank you to or even send a note of thanks? And, when is the best time to thank them? Below is a list of the opportunities during your job search in which you should say thank you, boosting your chances of getting an interview or a job offer.
When You Launch Your Job Search
Networking should be a major strategy in your job search and launching this effort should be one of your first job search tasks. You’ll want to get the word out about your job search to all your professional and personal connections - friends, family, past co-workers and supervisors - and ask them to share this news with their connections. You’ll probably need advice, assistance with writing and reviewing your resume, references from past supervisors, referrals and introductions to job openings and hiring managers. Since much of your networking may be conducted on LinkedIn or other online networking sites, someone you’ve never met (a friend of a friend) may introduce you to a hiring manager or refer you to a job.
Anyone who takes the time to help you with your job search deserves your thanks, even if they’re just keeping an eye out for job openings or proofreading your resume. You especially want to thank those people who may be putting their reputations on the line by bringing you into their professional network. Even if a networking contact doesn’t have information for you or is unable to help, you want to be just as gracious for taking their time. A verbal "thank you" when meeting in person or talking over the phone may be enough, but thanking them via an email or private message on LinkedIn can make a huge impression and help you stand out in their minds.
When You Submit Your Resume
Your resume should be sent along with a cover letter. If both documents are emailed as attachments, there should be a brief message in the email. Both the cover letter and email message should include a thank you for the recipient’s time and consideration of your candidacy.
When You Communicate With Your Key Contact
When you follow up on your resume, request an interview and go through the interview process with a company, there will likely be a hiring or human resources manager who serves as your main contact. Even if you do not interview with them or ultimately land a job with their company, you will want to thank them. Hiring/HR managers typically keep track of the top- notch candidates they meet, in case there is another appropriate opening at their company or with another employer in their network or community.
When You Are Contacted For an Interview
When you are contacted to schedule an interview, thank the person who is inviting you, even if they aren’t going to be interviewing you. You may meet them when you go to the interview or they may be someone you potentially work with, so you want them to remember you favorably. If they are in an administrative capacity, they may have the interviewer’s ear or be asked by the interviewer for their impression of you.
When You Are In an Interview
First impressions are critical with a job interview, so it’s a good idea to start one off by thanking the interviewer for inviting you to interview for the position. Do this as you shake their hand while also making eye contact. Your final impression is also important, and you will want to show the same graciousness when you leave by thanking the interviewer for taking the time to talk to you. If you are interviewed by a group of people, make sure to thank each person.
After the Interview
This is the most important time of all to say thank you. The employer has given you the opportunity and their time to show them what you have to offer, so you want to thank them for that. But, it’s not enough to just thank them as you are going out the door. A follow-up thank you note sent within 24 hours of the interview can have a powerful impact in many ways.
Many job candidates fail to write a post-interview thank you note. Because this is not as common-practice as it should be, hiring managers tend to be more impressed with the candidates who do take the time to send one. A customized thank you note shows that you are courteous and professional, have a sincere interest in the job and possess good communication and interpersonal skills. It’s also an opportunity for you to further explain how you are the right fit and mention anything you neglected to say in the interview. If the employer is deciding between you and another candidate for the position, a thank note can help you stand out and give you the edge you need.
Even if you’re not interested in the job, you should still send a post-interview thank you note. You never know when the employer might have a more perfect job opening and remember you because of your courteousness and professionalism.
When You Get the Job
Any job offer you receive is because someone took a leap of faith and believed you were the best candidate. Thank everyone you met with or who gave you a chance, but also anyone who may have introduced or referred you to the employer. They will feel confident they made the right decision to help or hire you.
When You Don’t Get the Job
Unfortunately, an employer you really wanted to work for may not offer you the job you are pursuing. Although this can be very disappointing, a thank you note to the hiring manager for informing you of their decision will demonstrate your professionalism, affirm your interest and could possibly encourage them to consider you for a future opening.
You should always maintain good relationships with your professional connections and those new connections you make along your job search journey. Saying thank you to those who help or give you their time during your job search is one of the best ways to do that and to boost your chances of successfully advancing your career.
The Value of Thanks-Giving in Your Job Search
The Post-Interview Thank You Note: Write One to Secure The Job
Using LinkedIn for Job Hunting
Knowing How to Work Networking