The Value of Follow-Up Notes in the Current Economy
Follow-up notes have become a critical component in the job search process. One reason for this is because, as companies battered by the recession have become more cautious, the hiring process is more drawn out. If for instance, you interviewed at a company five weeks ago, the odds are that by now you've become a fading memory to those who interviewed you.
One strategy that savvy job hunters use is to do what it takes in order to stay on the minds of hiring managers. In an article on Fins.Com, Julie Steinberg recommends using both snail and e-mail for this purpose.
In talking with those on the receiving end of such notes, I have found that a letter typed on high-quality stationary and mailed through the post office gets attention. Since many businesses are overwhelmed with electronic mail, a good old-fashioned, physical envelope can really stand out.
Keep in mind that in these tough times, most employees feel swamped; therefore your note must be brief. If three people interviewed you, you should consider sending a short note to all three.
The content of the note has to provide some reason as to why you're following up. You should reiterate your interest in the position. Additionally, in that first paragraph, use what you learned about the company in the interview to explain exactly why you'd be a great fit on their team.
In the next paragraph you might consider announcing something new. Perhaps it could be a strong point from your previous work background that you failed to mention on your resume, or maybe an idea you've had since the interview, on new opportunities for growth in their department. Anything that adds value, and shows them that there's more to you than even what they saw in the interview, is relevant.
The third and last paragraph reinforces your enthusiasm about the possibility of working with the company. Nobody wants to hire someone who won't be excited to join their team. Hiring managers know that they could hire the greatest brain on the planet, but if the new hire feels the work is beneath him, he's not going to perform well. Your closing paragraph is where you get to play the delicate balancing act of showing enthusiasm without sounding desperate.