I recently saw an article by Richard Nelson Bolles, author of a particularly popular book entitled What Color is Your Parachute? This book on careers was one of those books, much like Dick Irish’s Go Hire Yourself an Employer, that helped shape the career paths of many. Mark and I hope Working World will have that far reaching impact. The authors of these books did not only provide useful resources and advice, they offered a philosophical approach for making your mark on the world.
So it was a delight to see Mr. Bolles’ article “The Informational Interview: How It Can Help You Get a Job In Tough Times” that appeared in the January 1, 2009 issue of Bottom Line Personal.
One point he underscored was to send thank-you notes the same day as the interview. Here is his advice:
Ask the person you interviewed for his/her business card. Then send an e-mail so that the person you talked to has a prompt response from you. Also send a hand-written note to arrive a day or two later. Do this for any interview you have. Many job seekers ignore this very simple advice. Following it will help you stand out from the crowd.
His advice is well-taken. A carefully crafted thank-you note is another opportunity to showcase your communications skills. It shows you paid attention. I received the following handwritten card after an information interview with several people. You can be sure I will remember the young woman who wrote it.
Thank you for setting aside time to meet with me — and others — this afternoon. It was so very useful to know where to look for some of that data. I’ve had great fun with this thesis topic, and am still clarifying. My hope is that I can produce something that is truly useful for promoting understanding of public diplomacy — we shall see! After I contact Michelle and Sherri, I will probably drop you a line via email. This time I wanted to send a real card — something a bit more concrete to show my appreciation for the work that you do so well: encouraging individuals to make a difference through direct interaction.