Follow-Up Letters

After an interview, you might wish to send some follow-up correspondence in order to solve a problem or to present a proposal. I have already shown you some examples of thank-you letters and notes that were sent following an interview. In some cases, a longer or more detailed letter would be appropriate. The objective of this type of letter is to provide additional information or to present a proposal.

In some cases, you could submit a comprehensive proposal that would essentially justify your job. If there were already a job opening available, you could submit an outline of what you would do if hired. If no job were available, you could submit a proposal that would create a job and state what you would do to make hiring you pay off.

How to Use E-mail and Regular Mail for Thank-You Notes and Follow-Up Letters

Many hiring managers prefer correspondence via e-mail. It's easy, free, and instantaneous. Therefore, if the timeline on hiring is short, e-mail would have an advantage over regular mail.

When you are interviewed and the employer gives you his or her card with an e-mail address, corresponding via e-mail is generally acceptable. However, if you have a formal cover letter or thank-you note template and send these as e-mail attachments, make sure they are in a universal format such as Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Rich Text, Adobe PDF, or HTML. Always mention the format of your letter in your e-mail message. If you are ever in doubt about whether an employer can open your attachments, you should directly type (or copy and paste) the cover letter or thank-you note into the body of your e-mail.

Although the regular mail service has improved considerably since the Pony Express days, it still takes a day or two to send and receive a thank-you note locally. Although a mailed letter often looks more formal than an e-mail letter, it may not be received in time for consideration. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Essentially it boils down to speed versus formality.

In writing such a proposal, you must be specific in telling the hiring manager what you would do and what results these actions would bring. For example, if you proposed you could increase sales, how would you do it and how much might profits increase? Tell employers what you could accomplish and they may just create a new position for you. It happens more often than you probably realize.

Whatever the situation, your post-interview letter should present any concerns the employer may have had with you during the interview in a positive light. For example, if the employer voiced concern over a lack of specific experience, you would address his or her concern by stating that you are a quick study, self-motivated, and detail-oriented. Once you have put the employer's concerns to rest, reinforce your interest in the job (if you are sending a post-interview letter). Include a statement like, "After hearing more about the job, I am even more certain my skills and education will be beneficial to your company. I am eager to begin working for you and will call next Tuesday to inquire about the hiring decision."

Follow-Up Phone Calls

Although you don't want to become a pest, most employers are favorably impressed with a job seeker who follows up by phone. Most job seekers are not nearly as assertive as they should be in staying in touch with an employer following an interview. Use these tips to improve your results when following up with phone calls:

Ask when would be a good time to call. Before you leave the interview, ask when would be a good time to call back and note that time on your schedule.

Phone when you said you would. Call back on the day and at the

time the interviewer suggested. By then, if you do as I suggest, he or she will have received your thank-you e-mail and note. This will likely create a good impression, as will your calling back.

If there is an opening, ask for it. If you want the job, say so. Tell the interviewer why you want it and why you think it is a good fit for you.

Be brave; call back on a regular basis. If the employers you are meeting with don't have an opening now, ask to stay in touch. Make it clear that you are interested in working for them and would like to call or e-mail them back on a regular basis to see how things are developing. This kind of contact will keep you in their minds. As positions come up that fit your skills, these employers are more likely to consider you before they advertise the job. But this will happen only if you stay in contact with them on a regular basis!

Ask for referrals. Each time you contact employers, ask whether they know of anyone else who might have a job opening for someone with your skills. If not, ask whether they can give you names of others to contact to see whether they have openings.

Key Points: Chapter 7

After an interview, write down important items from the interview, plan your follow-up, and start writing your thank-you notes.

Whether sent through e-mail or regular mail, thank-you notes are a friendly and effective way to demonstrate your good manners and create a positive impression in the minds of employers.

In some situations, you may want to send a follow-up letter to provide the employer with more information, present a proposal, or clear up any issues that came up in the interview.

Staying in touch with an employer by phone can be a good way to ask for the job you want, find out about future opportunities, and get referrals to other potential employers.

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