The Usefulness of a Brief Thank You
"It is being hailed as the best-ever Emmy speech, or at least the shortest ever," wrote USA Today's Olivia Barker. She was speaking, of course, about the recent acceptance speech of Merritt Wever, who won for Supporting Actress in Showtime's Nurse Jackie. Neil Patrick Harris, host of the Emmy awards show, issued similar praise, "Merritt Wever," he chimed, "best speech ever!" All she said was, "Thanks so much. Thank you so much. I gotta go. Bye."
In the world of the job search, a follow-up "thank you" after a networking encounter or job interview doesn't have to be much longer than Merritt's acceptance speech, but it can accomplish some desirable outcomes. It can, for example, get your name in front of the interviewer or hiring-decision-maker one more time. It can refresh his or her memory regarding what sets you apart from other candidates, and it can establish you as a thoughtful, observant, articulate professional who appreciates etiquette.
Post-Interview: You might consider a message such as:
Thank you for the time we shared this past Wednesday, April 23, regarding your posting for a teacher of middle school science. I especially appreciated the opportunity you gave me to describe my student teaching experience in 7th grade science at Field Middle School, along with my mentoring and tutoring experiences in my program at Northwestern.
I look forward to future contacts with your campus principals. Thank you again.
Post-Networking: This one is easy.
It was great to see you at Bob and Bitsy's wedding. Thank for your referral to your colleague, Jane Doe, at Columbia Unified School District. I have contacted her office and look forward to meeting with her soon, hoping to share with her the superb quality of preparation I have received in my program here at Fairfield University.
Both of these samples remind the reader who you are, where they last spoke with you, where you're from, and what you have been doing to prepare yourself for the job you are seeking.
A variation, depending upon your personal comfort level, is an even more personalized message that can reflect your sense of detail and keen observation skills. However, it requires a certain level of personal comfort, because it reaches out by deploying your observation of your contact's own work environment. Some observation systems call this "walking the walls," as you scan the artifacts of the room you have entered. Your follow-up could be something as simple as the following post-meeting message:
Thank you again for meeting with me this past Thursday, May 5. Having admired your centennial print of the historic Old Main building while in your office, I thought you might possibly enjoy this column on it that recently appeared in Scenic Byways.
With this more personalized follow-up, you would, of course, be careful not to venture into any observations of that which is so personal as to be potentially construed as invasive and creepy, if a stranger were to comment. No comments on desktop family photos, for example! The goal is merely to induce the recall of your name and your positive qualities as a candidate, in almost as few words as our shortest-ever Emmy speech.