As the interviewee it sometimes feels like you have very little control over the interview process. You work hard to prepare every detail, you show up with time to spare and are ready to present your best self to the potential employer and then, it’s out of your hands, right? Well, not completely. There is one step that you, the interviewee consistently has control over and it comes after the actual interview. That step is sending a thank-you note.
Don’t underestimate the importance of sending a thank-you note. How you present yourself in this communication is almost as important as how you perform in the interview itself. This note allows you to maintain contact with the employer, shows them that you are still interested in the position and speaks to your commitment on follow through and professionalism.
Here are a few steps to help you create a thank-you note that will really make an impression:
- What to write - Even though it’s called a thank-you note it should include more than just appreciation. Take the opportunity to elaborate on why you would be a good fit for the position. If there are examples that you weren’t able to bring up in the interview or thought of after the fact, include those. This could be your last opportunity to prove that you are the right candidate for the job. Maintain enthusiasm throughout the letter and be sincere. Have someone proofread your note before you send.
- Who to send it to – This should be based on who you interviewed with or spent the most time with at the company. If you interviewed with only one person, but another member of their team was instrumental in the process, send them each a thank-you note. If you interviewed at multiple levels of a company, send each representative a separate note. Make sure that each is personalized enough to show that you didn’t send a standard note.
- How to send it – Email or Snail mail? The main thing to keep in mind is the time frame you have to work in. Are they looking to make a decision within the next week or is this a longer process with multiple interview steps and many candidates? You probably received some type of information on their timeframe during the interview process, so use that to decide how fast your thank-you note needs to be received. Also keep in mind the type of company or position you are interviewing for. Would a handwritten snail mail note show your skills off better than a fancy graphically enhanced email? Make the most of the delivery of your thank-you note.
Sending a great thank-you note can make you stand out from your competition and in today’s tight job market a competitive advantage can make a significant difference in being the candidate that gets hired.
Last week we talked about personal branding and gave you a few pointers on how to discover your personal brand. (To see that post, click here). Now that you’ve perfected your personal brand statement, let’s see how you can put it to work as you look for a job.
1. Design your resume to reflect your brand – Many times your resume is the first thing a potential employer receives that represents you. So, your resume is your first (and possibly only) chance to establish and represent your brand. Make sure to point out what you have to offer that directly aligns you with the position you are seeking. Consider including your personal branding statement as part of your objective. Don’t make the employer look for the information in your resume that would be of interest to them. Make it easy to find the most important points on your resume.
2. Put Social Media to work for you - Make sure you are fully utilizing professional social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Plaxo. These sites let you include your personal branding statement in your profile. You should align the information in your profile to support your brand. Request recommendations from contacts who can attest to your work and your brand. Then, make sure your profile photo is in line with your branding statement. Remember that social media can also work against you. Look carefully at more personal social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to make sure your postings and privacy settings are appropriate, especially during your job search process.
3. Perfect your Pitch – Always be prepared to represent your brand in a conversation or when meeting someone for the first time. A basic pitch includes your name and describes who you are. To make it more effective you should also include your personal branding statement. Practice your pitch until you are comfortable, confident and able to recite it naturally. Being able to speak confidently about who you are and what you want is a great way to make a positive first impression. For more on how to craft your pitch, check out our previous blog entry here.
4. Be Consistent – It’s important to remember that one of the keys to building a brand is consistency. Make sure all elements of your job search stay true to your brand. While your resume may establish your brand with potential employers, other pieces such as your cover letter or work portfolio should use the same formatting and language styles as well. Use the same consistent language during the interview process to align your efforts and reinforce your brand. Even your interview outfit should be consistent, representing the quality of your brand by being polished and professional. Making sure that all parts of your brand are aligned will allow you to make the best impression possible.
Now that you have your personal branding statement and you are making the most of it in your job search, make sure you maintain it. Your brand is part of you and is something that you can use on a daily basis. Allow your brand to evolve as you evolve and review your personal brand regularly to ensure that it reflects the very best of what you have to offer an employer.
There are many talented moms out there actively seeking to re-enter the paid workforce or gearing up to do so in the future. As experts in flexible staffing, Mom Corps team members are often asked about crucial skills for today’s workplace. In our monthly blog series we share smart strategies for career re-launchers.
We all know what a name brand is. We see them in grocery stores and shopping malls. We associate them with a certain level of quality and satisfaction. However, did you know that you have your own brand? It’s your personal brand and it’s all about who you are, what you’re known for and what you want to become.
Building your personal brand is especially important when you are looking for a job. Your brand tells potential employers about characteristics beyond the skills and experience listed on your resume; it tells them more about you as a person and the value you would bring to an organization.
The first step in building your personal brand is to decide on the core of your brand, who you are, what you do and what you have to offer. This can take time, research and honest reflection.
Start by answering a few questions:
What are the key features of your personality? Are you organized, fun, creative and/or detail oriented? Think about how others describe you and what your unique selling points might be.
Who is your brand targeting? In marketing terms, it’s called “knowing your target audience”. What industry are you looking to work in? What type of job is your ultimate goal? Maybe you have something specific to target, like working in an accounting department; or maybe your goal is broader, like working for a non-profit.
What specific talents can you offer? This may be skill-based like being a writer, a book-keeper or a graphic designer. It can also be experience-based and be described with terms such as manager, organizer and developer.
Once you have these three areas of your “voice” tightly defined, put them together to create your personal branding statement. Keep your statement short and memorable. Make sure it describes what you have outlined, but also make sure it inspires you and compels others to want to learn more about you.
Check back next week for tips on how to use your new personal brand in your job search!
Name: Lindsey Digrado
City/State: Los Angeles, CA
Family: Married with a one year old son
Education: BA from UCLA, MBA from USC Marshall School of Business
Summary of your professional experience: Began career working in finance and accounting, then went to business school to change careers and start a new direction in marketing.
New Job: Marketing Manager at Disney Interactive Media Group, 12 month contract
Why did you engage with Mom Corps? I liked the idea of working with an organization focused on helping working moms.
How has working with Mom Corps affected your work-life synthesis? The position I’m in is more of a regular “9-5”, but the location is much closer to my home which gives me more time with my son at night, and less time in traffic!
What is your go-to stress reliever? I love to slip away to the spa for a few hours. I love my son, but chasing after a one-year old is tiring!
How would you describe your overall experience? I like working with an organization that seeks to help working moms, and it’s good to know there are many opportunities for us!
Name: Katie Blackburn
City/State: Cincinnati, OH
Family: Husband, Scott; 2 sons, Griffin (6), Cooper (3)
Education: B.A. in mass communications from Anderson University, M.A. in public relations from Ball State University
Summary of your professional experience: I've spent the majority of my career working in marketing communications for health systems. I also spent time planning events and managing online information for Anderson University Admissions.
New Job: I'm working part time (20 hours per week) as a SEO/PPC specialist with Search Engine Experts, with the possibility of increased hours as the company continues growing. It is an incredibly flexible position; I'm able to manipulate my schedule as needed to make it all work.
Why did you engage with Mom Corps? I heard a Mom Corps interview on public radio a few years ago and remember being impressed with the concept; I thought it was brilliant. I had significantly scaled back my freelance hours at that point, but knew I needed to be strategic in when and how I chose to ramp back up. This past fall, it became clear that me going back to work in a more permanent capacity was going to be a healthy choice for everyone in my family. When I thought about how I would juggle everything, I immediately remembered that radio interview.
How has your experience been working with Mom Corps Cincinnati? Seamless. Professional. Caring. Everything moved fairly quickly and Mom Corps was great at communicating what the process was. By far the most reassuring aspect of the entire experience was knowing that the companies they were working with bought into the idea of flexibility, which was so crucial for me.
How has having a flexible job with Mom Corps affected your work-life synthesis? Before starting this position, I was either way too much of an employee or way too much of a mom. Because of the job I found through Mom Corps, I can honestly say I feel much more balanced.
What is your go-to stress reliever? Music, reading or swimming. Learning something new always helps me let go too!
How would you describe your overall experience? Overall, I feel a peace about where I am in life. I took a jump out of my comfort zone and landed in a place I haven't been before -- it's called balance. Thanks Mom Corps!!
Name: Maria Harleston
City/State: Los Angeles, CA
Family: A husband and 4 children ages 14, 12, 9 and 5
Education: B.S. in Accounting, University of Virginia; CPA
Summary of your professional experience: 4 years at Price Waterhouse; 3 years at The Coca-Cola Company; 2 years at DreamWorks SKG; 2 years at Showtime Networks
New Job: Part time, permanent Senior Accountant Position with Prager and Fenton, working approximately 25 hours per week.
Why did you engage with Mom Corps? I contacted Mom Corps because I thought that they would provide the perfect opportunity for me to re-enter the work force and maintain a balance between my work and home life.
How was your experience working with Mom Corps Los Angeles? My experience with Mom Corps was great! They were very pleasant and helpful. Having been out of the work force for 10+ years to raise my children, I appreciated that my preliminary screening interviews were with other mothers who understood the importance of balancing work and family and who could relate to the specific challenges of being a working mother.
How has having a flexible job with Mom Corps affected your work-life synthesis? The flexible hours of this job afford me the mental stimulation that comes with being in the work force as well as the ability to provide some financial benefit for my family, while still allowing me to be present as a mother and wife. The hours that I work allow me to take my children to school every day and to pick them up from school each day. Additionally, Prager and Fenton is very flexible with respect to my work schedule when I need to participate in activities at my children's school, take them to doctor's appointments or spend time with them when they have days off from school. The job flexibility has provided the best of both worlds in that I receive many of the benefits of being a working mother while not sacrificing those things about being a mother that are important to me, like taking my children to school and being present for school volunteer activities and other functions.
What is your go-to stress reliever? I believe in the many positive benefits of exercise and depend on my 5am workouts Monday through Friday to preserve my sanity and keep my stress at bay.
How would you describe your overall experience? I am very thankful to Mom Corps for the opportunity to work outside the home while still maintaining balance between work and family!