Technology has evolved drastically over the past few decades and it has impacted the way we communicate with one another. We’ve gone from typewriters to word processors to the bulky IBM computers onto more sleek and slimmer computers, laptops, netbooks to now the ever popular eReaders, tablets and smart phones. With the constant changes, there are basic principles in the work environment that doesn’t change. The medium used may change, but the concept still remains. Here we are talking about what’s appropriate for sending ‘Thank-You Notes’ after an interview. Do you go with the latest gadget and form of technology or stick to the traditional format? That is the question. Well, after conducting a poll based on four options: handwritten note/card, email, text, and phone call; 65% said handwritten note/card, 35% said email and the last two options didn’t receive any votes.

Consequently, the poll support my thoughts and I’m going to explain why handwritten notes/cards are the best options.
As a Career Coach, the advice given to clients and people I work with is always stick with the traditional method of using snail mail. Now, whether you send a card or a typed letter, I believe this approach is not only the best approach, but the safest approach. Applicants never want to run the risk of offending the hiring authority by doing something out of line. Most companies are traditional from this stand point and would not give any extra thought to an email and most definitely not to text or phone calls. Everyone must keep in mind in this age of technology, we are inundated with hundreds of emails and phone calls. As a result, an applicant’s email can get lost in the shuffle or worst yet, get caught in the spam filters and never delivered to the interviewer. Now, I don’t have to go into details as to why text messaging is not appropriate, it just don’t have a place in the job application and interviewing process.

So, this brings us back to mailing a handwritten card or note or a typed letter. Out of these three traditional options, you know I would go with a handwritten card or letter on some nice stationary. Handwritten add a personal touch to the letter and shows the individual took time to put thought in what they had to say and write. With the process of writing letters becoming more obsolete, it allows the applicant to stand out more and it makes the interviewer feel special. At the same time, it is equally important to ensure the letter is effective and in order. Therefore, applicants should complete the following 5 steps when writing the letter/card.
1. Start with a draft – take time to review notes from the interview and brainstorm on things you want to highlight that was revealed in the interviewing process about the job, company, yourself and/or interviewer. Formulate ideas and put them in order. Be sure to highlight skills, your value and any connection points between the applicant and the interviewer.
2. Select nice, but appropriate stationary – the point of this process is to make an impression after the interview so the interviewer doesn’t forget who you are and what you have to offer. So, select stationary paper or card that is nice and neutral. If a hobby or interest was revealed during the interview, you could possibly use stationary related to their personal interest. It’s all about connection.
3. Review final draft and selected stationary with someone – it’s always good to get a second and third opinion, but you will need someone who is readily available because timing is of the essence. Have this person or persons check for grammar, flow and message theme. They should be able to tell you if it made sense or if it is missing something. You do not want to go through all this effort and send a note that is inappropriate, offensive, have misspellings or grammatically incorrect. Companies are looking for people who can communicate effectively and give attention to detail.
4. Write the letter/card – produce the final product when it is ready. Review one last time to ensure everything is accurate and in order from correct name, title, address and appearance.
5. Drop in mail no later than 24 hours after the interview is complete – ideally, you want to place it in the mail within a few hours after the interview. Meaning the shell of the letter would have already been written including the introduction and reinforcement of skills explaining why you are the best candidate. That way, all you have to do is add information from the live interview to it. The sooner you mail the note, the better off you will be.

You always want to put your best foot forward and showcase excellence when it comes to a job, but the interviewing segment of the process is one applicant’s should stick to traditional tactics. The opportunity for an interviewer to showcase a nice card or well written letter on their desk is a testament to their recruitment efforts. In closing, don’t let the impersonal and quick response aspects of technology take you away from solid traditional methods that still work and are probably more effective today than before. Hand-written ‘Thank-You’ notes or cards will always be appropriate when it comes to job interviews – any interview for that matter (college admissions, scholarship committee, etc.).

Author's Bio: 

Tameka Williamson, The WILL Power Success Coach, is the Best Selling Author of A Road to Success: The College Preparatory & Planning Guide and a Certified Coach, Speaker and Trainer for the John Maxwell Team, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a graduate of Southern University A&M College with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Webster University with a Masters of Business Administration. Tameka is focused on teaching and empowering people to Win Intentionally in Leading Life (WILL). Website: www.coachtwill.com & www.myowncollegecoach.com
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