12 Ways to Make Follow-Up Letters Work for You after Interviewing - dummies

12 Ways to Make Follow-Up Letters Work for You after Interviewing

By Joyce Lain Kennedy

As part of your job-search process, make a habit of writing a follow-up letter after you have intteviewed with the hiring authority. After all, keeping open the lines of communication is important at any stage of the job search process.

Here are a dozen reasons to put after-interview letters to work for you:

  • Sell your talents one more time. The blur of brutal competition means interviewers may develop memories like Swiss cheese; it never hurts to remind hiring authorities that you’re running hard to win. Your letter is your last easy chance to cement a “best of the bunch” image, especially if you are interviewed early in the selection process and are followed by equally strong competitors.

  • Contribute to top-of-mind awareness (TOMA). TOMA is a marketing term describing a product or brand that pops into a customer’s head first when thinking of an industry. Your letter is another reminder of your interest.

  • Reprise perfection for the job. Here’s your opportunity to again remind the interviewer of what you specifically can do for a company, not what a company can do for you. Draw verbal links between a company’s immediate needs and your qualifications: You want A, I offer A; you want B, I offer B.

  • Delve deeper into your abilities. Elaborate on your experience in handling concerns discussed during the interview. Prove your claims with brief, fact-based paragraphs describing how you solved problems of interest to the hiring company.

  • Contribute freebie research. After looking into an issue facing the company that was mentioned during the interview, if you’ve got the creds for serious research skills, include a brief but pertinent statement of your findings, perhaps even enclosing relevant reports, surveys, and news clips.

  • Flesh out a point that escaped you. Add information to a question you didn’t fully answer during the interview. Say that, upon reflection about (topic), you want to add a follow-up comment.

  • Demonstrate your communications skills. A number of researchers charge that texting and e-mail have contributed to a drastic decrease in effective communication skills of this generation, even in the corporate world. Here’s another chance to show the texting slam ain’t u.

  • Confirm your grasp of business etiquette. Putting other people at ease through the way we behave is the essence of etiquette. Sending a letter after meeting with an interviewer shows that you know the rules for conducting yourself in a professional manner.

  • Substitute equivalent competencies and skills. When your work history shows that you are not a look-alike for the job — or that you are trying to dramatically change careers — your follow-up letter has some chance to narrow the yawning gap. Give it a whirl!

  • Overcome various unspoken objections. You may come away from an interview feeling that there was an elephant in the room — such as relocation or childcare or age. For legal reasons, the interviewer didn’t exactly mention the objection, but you could feel its presence and you’re fairly sure it’s a job killer for you.

    Even if you dealt with the hidden objection in the interview, a letter allows you to affirm that the employer need not worry — you like new places and faces, you have solid childcare arrangements, you walk 2 miles every day.

  • Demonstrate your soft skills. By establishing at least a modicum of rapport with a hiring authority, you create the perception of someone who isn’t a pain to work with. And that’s worth plenty in today’s world.

  • Reaffirm your interest in the position. In professing respect for the company, you need not dish enthusiasm with a shovel. But including a couple statements about your zest for the position is a basic requirement.