In the last few weeks, we’ve been interviewing for an evening Reference Librarian position, and it got me thinking about my own grueling job search, not so long ago! I remember stressing out about how much stuff I had to get together: update my CV to highlight what the posting is asking for, re-write my cover letter, investigate the institution, research the library, the list goes on and on. But, one important piece of advice I received while interning with an Outreach Librarian as an undergrad is: once you get that interview – make sure you say thank you.
While I always complied with my colleague’s advice, I never really considered how important it was, until I was sitting on the other side of the desk. Search committees are just as overwhelmed as the applicants and are often looking through hundreds of CVs & cover letters, scoring them based on what they’ve received on paper, and then rearranging schedules to meet with the candidates on campus. It’s a long, arduous process in its own, and it’s always nice to get a thank you note after all of that hard work.
Think of it this way: first impressions are important, but last impressions last.
Sending well-written ‘thank you’ notes shows the search committee that you’re thoughtful and excellent at communicating. But, what makes a great thank you? How do you decide whether you should send an email or a handwritten note? Well, here’s a few tips for your next interview!
Decide whether you have enough time to mail cards, or if you need to send an email
Sometimes, you will be asked for a phone interview before having an in-person interview. These are usually done to weed out lesser candidates before the university decides to spend the money to bring you to campus. If it’s a phone interview, you will likely find the timeline is much shorter between hanging up and getting a call for a 2nd interview. No worries! Emails can be just as unique and personal. These glorious cards from Treat allow you to easily customize your card from the inside out – then, you can decide to send it as an e-card or mail them! Simple and elegant!
Say thank you to each person
Even if only one person on the search committee is going to be your future boss – send a card to everyone you spoke to in the interview. This means tailoring each card to the individual. This shows that you were listening and considering each person’s point-of-view and time spent on preparing for your interview. In other words: it sets you apart.
Remind the interviewers again of your strengths & ALWAYS tie it back to something you discussed
Use this essential space to tie it back into why you’re the perfect fit for this job. Remind them of your experience, skills, and expertise! Bring up a question that the interviewer might have asked and expand on it. Or, try to remember a question that you didn’t particularly answer well, and take this opportunity to show that you’ve put some extra thought into it. Remember: don’t send cookie-cutter cards – you wouldn’t just send a cookie-cutter cover letter, would you? Of course not, or you wouldn’t have received an interview in the first place. 🙂
Be concise. Be personal. Be great.
While thank you notes should address your skills and reflect why you’re a good fit, they shouldn’t be 5-page letters. Being concise shows off your ability to write well and to highlight which interactions during the interview were especially important to you. This is where being personal is essential. Show them you truly appreciated the conversation.
If you were invited for a face-to-face interview, make sure you do your research and plan ahead. As you’re scouring the university/library’s website, get an idea of who you might be meeting, and Google them. This might give you some insider perspective on what the interviewer(s) might like in a thank you card.
Hopefully with these tips, you’ll craft the perfect thank you card and land that dream-job! If you want to stock up on thank you notes so you can hand-write something beautiful, quickly, check out some of my favorite places to get unique cards like Night Owl Paper Goods and Treat by Shutterfly.
Have you ever sent handwritten a thank you card? Did it land you a job?