The Beginner’s Guide to Following Up After an Interview
Posted on: July 27th, 2016

You hop in the car, crank up the volume and start jamming to your favorite song. You don’t even care who is watching because you just nailed your interview! Now all that is left to do is patiently wait for a few days until the offer is sent your way, right? Wrong! The interview isn’t over quite yet, there is still one important step to take in order to be sure you hold your ground as a top candidate.

That last step? Following up with a Thank You Letter.

These days, forgetting to send a thank you letter can simply be seen as unprofessional. With that being said, you shouldn’t send a thank you letter just to “check it off the list.” A thank you letter can be another chance for you to stand out to the recruiter or hiring manager and make sure they don’t forget about you.

Following these few simple rules can help ensure that your thank you letter leaves an impression:

Send BOTH an Email and a Note Through the Mail (Yes, Snail Mail Still Exists!)

As today’s workflows become more fast-paced, sending a thank you email before your handwritten note will reduce the gap between your interview and when the hiring manager hears from you again. Your email can be sent as soon as two hours after your interview, but no longer than 24 hours. The recruiters are constantly meeting people, so staying in front of them with a friendly reminder will only help them remember you and your interview.

Be sure to send a physical note at the same time, so it arrives within a few days after the interview. People enjoy opening an old fashioned letter. It shows that you aren’t lazy, and that you’re serious about the position. Also, don’t send the same letter by mail that you sent via email. Switch it up a little bit!

Use Professional Language

Even though this is a thank you letter and may seem a little less formal, it is still a business transaction. It will give the interviewers a chance to see how you communicate through writing as well (i.e. how you would represent the company). Tip: If you are unaware whether or not the woman who interviewed you is married, “Ms.” is a safe bet to use while addressing her in the letter.

Send a Thank You to Everyone You Met With

Sending one general thank you letter to the entire team or sending the same generic letter to each person that you met with defeats the purpose, as it won’t help you stand out amongst the crowd. Don’t get lazy, and be sure to send an individual thank you to everyone who was involved in the interview process.

Thank You Card

Personalize Each Thank You Letter

Recruiters and hiring managers are experts when it comes to this stuff, so they know a template when they see one. Whether it’s mentioning the hometown that you share, the sports team you both root for, or thanking them for a rundown of a large project they talked through with you, incorporating something personal lets them recall who you are and shows that you paid attention throughout the interview process.

Conclude With a Summary and Acknowledge Next Steps

If they mentioned in the interview that they were expecting a decision the following week, address that in the final paragraph. Sign off with something along the lines of “Again, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to interview with XYZ Company, and the time you took out of your day to meet with me. You mentioned that a decision on the XYZ role is expected by next week. I look forward to hearing from you regarding your decision. In the meantime, if there is any additional information you may need from me, I would be more than happy to provide it for you.”

Have Someone Proofread Your Letter

A simple misspelling of a word or name can be enough to remove your name from consideration. You worked so hard to land (and crush) that interview, so don’t let a typo make all of that go to waste! It’s always good to have as many sets of eyes on your writing as possible. If you are unsure about how to spell a name, don’t guess. You can look them up on the company website or their LinkedIn page, or even better, you could glance at their business card (which you hopefully asked for at the end of the interview!)

From now on, instead of looking at a Thank You Letter as a simple formality, use it to your advantage. Show the company that you are truly thankful for their time and the opportunity. Also, use it as a tool to make a lasting impression and showcase one last time that you would be a great fit for the company.

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A New View on Work Experience: Every Job is a Real Job
Posted on: December 31st, 2015

You’re a college senior or recent graduate looking for your first full-time professional position. What’s your professional brand? What value and skills do you bring to the workplace? Over 60% of the candidates that we work with struggle in answering these questions. Most are either too focused on their academic major or too quick to discount their non-professional work experience.

At GradStaff, an important factor of our program is career coaching, including both resume and interview feedback and tips. Believe it or not, we’ve actually worked with many candidates that choose not to include valuable work experience on their resume out of fear that they will be viewed as under-qualified for the position of interest.

This is one of the greatest entry level job search myths. Professional employers will not discount your non-professional work experience; they will only discount how you communicate that experience. Truth: You don’t need to have a bunch of Wall Street internships to be considered for top notch entry-level positions. While this certainly doesn’t hurt, all you need is the ability to speak to your experiences—professional or non-professional—in a manner that showcases your highly-developed transferable skills.

TransferiStock_000060928060_Largeable skills, more commonly known as soft skills, are skills that stay with you throughout your entire career regardless of your job and industry, and they include the ability to communicate effectively, think critically, solve problems, and lead people. A 2014 study found that 93% of employers agreed that candidates’ ability to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively was more important than technical knowledge in a specific field. Why do employers crave these soft skills, especially at the entry level? Because they are constant. Technologies change and become obsolete, but transferable skills will be applicable your entire career.

Whether you’re working in a professional office environment or a restaurant, you have the opportunity to hone these skills on an everyday basis. For example, if you’re a server, bartender, or barista, you’re developing world-class customer service skills. If you’re working construction or landscaping, you have a phenomenal ability to stay organized, solve problems, and manage your time and resources. If you’re a retail sales associate, you’re a master communicator and relationship builder.

There’s no such thing as a real job. Every job is a real job. No matter what you’re doing, you have the opportunity to develop yourself and launch your career, so start thinking in that manner and commit to these 2 professional resolutions in 2016:

  1. Be the best you can possibly be, no matter what you’re doing. You’re not just a server, bartender, or landscaper who’s passing the time and cashing the paycheck. You’re the best in the game, and your boss, peers, and customers see that on an everyday basis.
  2. Communicate your experience in a manner that elevates yourself and showcases your invaluable transferable skills. On your resume, in interviews, and in daily conversation, ensure you ooze the characteristics that make you the best, and support your communication with key examples and data points. How much did you increase sales? How have you exceeded company goals? What’s your customer satisfaction score?

At GradStaff, if we’re choosing between a barista who commits to these 2 resolutions and a fancy office intern who wastes away the days watching YouTube videos, we’re taking the barista every day of the week. Are you ready to launch your career?

Let’s do this!

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Don’t Ask Lazy Questions: Nailing the End of the Interview
Posted on: July 28th, 2015

Entry-level job seekers often struggle with the last part of the job interview: asking great questions. While often neglected, this is actually one of the most important parts of the interview. Check out THIS article by GradStaff Marketing Manager Ben Holder on advice for how to avoid the trap of asking lazy questions. Be sure to apply this in your next interview in order to separate yourself from the competition.

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