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Some call it networking, others say it’s whom you know. No matter how you slice it, it’s common in a job search to receive job leads, referrals, or references from others. And when you land that job, it’s proper business etiquette to thank those who helped you along the way. But in this world of immediate communication, many may think that an email or text is sufficient regardless of circumstance. While it gets the job done, those options don’t necessarily mean a job well done. It has the potential to lose that emotional or personal connection that makes you seem human and appreciative. Here are some tips to bear in mind when thanking those who helped you in your job search:
- The sooner the better: All of us are busy these days. Really busy. But that’s no excuse for not sending out a thank you. By procrastinating the acknowledgement, you are unintentionally indicating that the person’s efforts on your behalf, or that the job interview, were not that important. To ensure that doesn’t happen, the sooner you can send that thank you, the better.
- Just the facts ma’am: Maybe a lead resulted in your getting the job, or a former manager gave you an excellent reference. You are excited, and may be understandably enthusiastic in your thank you. However, keep in mind that your thank you is still a form of professional correspondence; try to balance your enthusiasm with the purpose of the communication to keep it energetic yet business appropriate at the same time.
- Know your audience: Thanking people for helping in your job search is a must, but the form of your thank is equally as important; it says a lot about your ability to gauge a situation. For example, sending flowers is a nice gesture in general, it is not appropriate to send them to an interviewer; a thank you note is better. If a co-worker with whom you have lunch every Friday gave you a great reference, it would be odd to send them a formal thank you; offering to buy them lunch would be more appropriate. Consequently, both the situation and your level of familiarity with the person in question should be a guide in the form of your thank you.
- Old versus new: Saying thanks for help in your job search involves just that: actually saying – or writing – thanks. But which is better: electronic communication or a good old fashioned letter? Some say don’t send an email – it’s very impersonal and packs the least punch. But that depends. If there is fierce competition for a position, then an immediate email to the interviewer may be better than a posted letter that takes days to arrive. Gauge the situation accordingly to determine your best course of action.
- The little differences: If you are sending a written thank you, make sure it is free from typographical errors, grammar mistakes, punctuation issues, or any other embarrassing and preventable problems. Again, remember that your note is a form of professional communication which can reflect positively, or negatively, on your workplace abilities. Review it several times before sending anything, read it aloud, or have someone else review it.
Saying thanks is a simple gesture, but one that can be easily forgotten or overlooked. But just think what it does – it allows you to treat those who helped you in your job search with courtesy and respect for the time and effort they expended on your behalf. Just do it – it can make all the difference.