Any guru of employment will tell you how important it is to thank your interviewer but it's all a matter of HOW you do it. It's not enough to simply say "Thank you" to them...that doesn't help you to stand out from the crowd of unemployed applicants. Emails are nice, and they help you stand out, and in some ways they are absolutely unexpected. But you know what is even more unexpected?
My friend is the Queen of hand written notes. She has created her own to maintain her brand identity and has created a system on how to personalize them. I won't give up her secrets, but I can give you tips on writing and branding your own thank you notes.
Tip #1: Do your research. Before you can even think about writing a thank you note, do you know where you plan on sending it? Some companies can mislead you into thinking that the person you are looking for is headquartered in one location, but in reality they are some where else. With a little research, some know how, and a "psycho" investigative mentality you can find anything you want to know.
Tip #2: Get some stationary. Not all of us are artistically talented like my friend or myself, but they have so much stationary on the market that you can fake it really well. Even better, there are websites that allow you to customize and brand your own stationary. Having stationary is the foundation upon which you build your personal marketing brand with.
Tip #3: Personalization. Personalization. Personalization. Sure you may have purchased some generic stationary from Wal-mart, but honestly it's not all about what's on the front of the card. It's about what's on the inside of it. If you are writing a thank you letter to just say thank you...you're missing the point. The purpose of the thank you is not only to say "thank you for the interview and the time," but it's also a way to say HEY LOOK AT ME! You want to personalize your thank you note so that the receiver will have a frame of reference of who you are as well as to why they should remember you.
Tip #4: Branding. In this day and age it's all about building a brand. Whether you are trying to build an empire or your portfolio, branding yourself is the number one way to get yourself noticed and thus get you to where you are trying to be. Not only do you want to write a thank you note and personalize it, but you want to be sure to drop your business card in that thank you note. You might be thinking to yourself, "is that subtle? will I look desperate?" Think about it, the fact that the hiring manager or vice president of a company has not only your well positioned and quirky thank you note but they now have your business card. They might not always hire you for the position they are looking for, but they could hire you for something else. It's all about creating opportunities.
You've done the research about the company and who you are sending a thank you note to. You've created or bought the perfect stationary for your personality and brand. You took the time to personalize the note so that they can remember who you are. You've branded yourself by adding a business card so that they can continue to keep you in mind. With the amount of effort you put into the thank you note, you are positioning yourself to receive opportunities. So TAKE IT! Take that opportunity like it's yours and when it is...don't forget the thank you note!
The Unemployed [but Empowered] Entrepreneur