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Published: Wednesday, 7/5/2006

Thanks for Listening

by Bob Lankard

CTW Features

Look guys, the sales department is on my back to get a recommendation for their secretary-receptionist position. You interviewed those applicants. Let s go over them and come up with a recommendation, said the personnel director of a farm implement manufacturing plant.

That was Monday. We interviewed twenty for that position. And we have interviewed everyday since then. I am not sure I remember those people, said Andy, one of the interviewers.

Same here, said Brad, another interviewer.

OK, OK. I ll make it easy for you. I ll give them to you in alphabetical order, said the director. How about Betty Brown? he asked.

I don t have anything for her, said Dave. The others agreed that they either forgot Betty or they had no impression of her.

Next is Charlotte Green, said the manager. I hope you remember something about her.

She was the one that muttered. I didn t think she would do well on the phone, said Andy.

No, she was the one who kept saying and such. I also eliminated her as being poor for the phone, said Brad.

Do any of you guys remember anyone?

Mary Jones thanked me for the tour I conducted. She said she liked the way the sales office was set up, said Andy.

She sent me an article about how the demand for farm machines that can be pulled by a horse has doubled in the past ten years, said Dave.

Brad said, She reminded me in her letter that she is able to compose letters doesn t have to have them dictated.

Hey, what is it with you guys and this Mary Jones? said the manager.

She sent each of us a thank- you letter, Andy replied.

Only one of the twenty sent a thank-you letter? said the manager.

No, several of the others did too. But they must have gone to some class where a teacher handed out an example. All of them followed it word for word, Andy said. They were identical. So I pitched them.

So, am I to take it you want to recommend Mary Jones because of her thank-you letters? said the manager.

Mary Jones scored in her job search because the interviewers remembered her and not the other 19 interviewed.

Reminding interviewers who you are is one of the purposes of a thank-you letter. Other things Mary did well was mention some specific things she appreciated on interview day, call attention to a specific skill and contribute some information that might be of value to the company.

Other things one can do in a thank-you letter is answer a question you were unable to in the interview, restate your interest in the job, state that you will call after a certain date to see if a decision has been made, mention points you forgot during the interview and show that you have good manners.

Richard Nelson Bolles in What Color is your Parachute (Ten Speed Press, 1978) says the thank-you note is one of the most essential steps in the whole job seeking process and one most overlooked by job seekers. Be sure to get the names of the persons conducting the interview with the correct spelling. Don t forget secretaries either; get their names. Thank them for their help. They will appreciate it and remember you.

Males in macho occupations resist the advice to send thank-you letters. Laboring in a scrap yard is heavy, dirty, macho work. But one scrap yard owner I talked to valued courtesy in his yard workers. He said, Don t send a strong back who doesn t know how to talk to customers.

Timing of the thank- you letter is a decision the job seeker must make. Many counselors advise sending it right away, as soon as you get home.

I believe the time right after the interview should be better spent assessing your performance in the interview and deciding if this job is right for you. Your evaluation should result in better thank-you letters because you can call attention to things you forgot in your interview.

Send the thank-you letter the following day or even two days after.

Bob Lankard Bob Lankard, a business columnist for the Indiana Gazette and former program manager at the state Job Center in Indiana, Penn., offers common sense advice and innovative tactics to help all levels of job seekers satisfy their employment ambitions.

Copyright CTW Features



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