Today’s brief blog post is about follow-ups and thank you notes. I have closely observed my clients over the last 6 months and have come to one, sad conclusion. A thank you and follow-up email or card is a lost art in today’s busy, and social media world. #thankyou
The most common feedback I have received from employers and my business contacts during these last six months is how very few people follow up with an email, either thanking one’s time during a job interview or following up on a recent informational interview and that professional’s time. According to my research, close to 90% of these interviewees do not follow-up, 90%!!!. The reasons are beyond comprehension, and from what I was able to gather simply come down to a lack of organization skills and professionalism. Guess what – the most common answer I received from those that did not follow-up was a mere ‘I forgot’ or ‘I was too busy and forgot’.
This is unacceptable and in today’s ‘1 degree of separation’ job market, Not sending a professional follow-up email note is as close to one can get to committing network suicide. With that in mind, here are my key tips to help you to avoid this common mistake and show up well before your contacts and professional network:
Follow-up thank you note after a job interview
- In case you are interviewing for a job that requires superior client or BD skills – make sure to send your thank you note within 24 hours. It will show your potential future employer that you will value their clients as well and that you ‘get it’.
- If it is not a BD/Client focused role – plan for the next 24-48 hours.
- Include: reminder of a key moment during the job interview with a re-impression of your interest for the role and the value you would bring. Important – not more than 100 words. Close by thanking them and offering to provide any other required information or clarification as necessary.
Follow-up thank you note after an informational interview:
- Send your email (or handwritten card) within 48 hours.
- Include: A genuine thank you for the person’s time and insights shared during that 1:1. In case the conversation included a discussion around hobbies and activities in common, make your note more personable by mentioning one of those that will remind your contact that you share similar interests/ activities. Also offer to help, and make yourself available to return the kind gift of time that person’s granted you. Important – not more than 150 words.
Let me know your thoughts and comments. If you have a question – reach out to CoachRod via email @ email@example.com
Yes – Job Interviews can be…. Fun!
These past couple of weeks have been a great roller-coaster for me. very busy times between my role as a Manager, MBA Careers at the Sauder School of Business-UBC and my career coaching consulting CoachRod. And a couple of weeks ago, after 2.5 years in my current role coaching hundreds of MBA students I raised my hand for a portfolio change. Luckily enough, change was happening within my business unit at the Sauder School of Business and an opportunity opened up. A new role had just been created for an Assoc. Director, MBA Careers to provide leadership and strategic direction to ensure the success of employer recruitment and career development programs for MBA students, full-time and part-time.
Long story short, wrote a cover letter, updated my resume and applied for the job. Waited, and then.
Secured the first interview. Time to get prepped.
Here’s where the fun starts. And let me know if, after you read the next paragraphs won’t you agree that job interviews can be fun after all?
- An opportunity to revisit our successes (yes – we all have them);
- Learn more about other people’s backgrounds and career paths (do your research);
- Connect the dots – between your experience, your strengths, vision, and even your weaknesses (story tell);
- Ask questions – question the status quo (turn it into a working meeting).
Yes, I know. There could be external factors that bring more pressure to an interview. Finances, family, plus many others. For now, put those aside and roll with my career coach and interviewee perspective. It will help you. And let these be friendly reminders to not let the pressing external issues influence how you approach interviews. After all, I get nervous too – but following this approach has helped me take charge and control my nerves. Did it help me succeed? Read till the end…
Job Interviews should be learning platforms to catapult your success, enhance your self-awareness and allow you to make powerful connections with other people.
Trust me, at the end of the day, it’s all about making strong people connections, telling great stories, with facts and a structured approach. Well, aren’t those are all fun? #owntheroom #jobinterviews #smile
Thanks for reading – and yes, I did get the job.
Start this Monday, November 2nd – 2015 now as the new Assoc. Director, MBA Careers at the Business Career Centre, Sauder School of Business-UBC. Looking forward to engaging with you with your comments, on Facebook or through CoachRod.
One of the most common requests I get from my coachees is about cover-letters. What to write, how to write, and so on.
So find below my 7 Golden Rules for them – Happy Reading!
1. It’s not you, it’s them. Bear in mind that a job opening is a business problem for any organization. Make sure your first paragraph shows how much you understand this and know about their needs. #putyourselfintheirshoes
2. Connect the dots. Now after you have shown them how much you know and understand the company’s needs it is now time to connect those needs to your experience and skill-set. Interpret their key needs and match with key accomplishments from your tool-box. #whyme
3. Less is More. An effective cover letter does not look like a ‘wall of words. Make sure yours does not fit into this category as I can assure you people will not read it. Plan for four paragraphs, and don’t hesitate from using a couple of bullets to replace a chunk of text. Highlight what’s vital! #writesmart
4. Don’t get cute. Avoid slangs, and gimmicks to attract attention. Be professional – keep your letter polished, professional and visually appealing. #beprofessional
5. Get Personal. Prove how much you want this job by addressing the cover letter to the proper person. Do your research, pick up the phone, and find who that person is. As that may be what they expect of you. At least do not address your letter to ‘hiring manager’ or ‘sir or madam’, simply don’t! And whenever possible, drop in the name of a common connection, make sure to ask them first. #referrals #champions
6. Strategies pay-off.
If you did your homework, by the time a job opening comes up you should have a couple of connections into that company to explore. Perhaps as a touch-base to gain new insights, or even to serve as champions! Plan ahead, be strategic and know your target markets! #networking #earnyourchampions
It still amazes me that in today’s day and age over 20-30% of job applications go to the garbage bin because of errors. All sorts of errors. Wrong name, wrong company name, formating, different fonts (and sizes), and of course – spelling and grammar. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, this is the one occasion in which you have to be perfect! #reviewyourletter #perfection
Want to know more about winning career strategies? Contact CoachRod and take control of your job-search. Stay tuned to a new webinar coming up: Cover Letter Strategies, and follow CoachRod on Facebook for updates!
Good Luck and write smart!
1. Know your value proposition Remember, if you have an interview – they already think you can do the job!!! I mean it! So connect the dots between your experience and skill-set to their needs and close the sale!! Do it in an engaging way, concise and to the point. The key here is to leave them wanting to know more. #tellmeaboutyourself
2. Engage Nothing annoys any recruiter or hiring manager more than a robocop interviewee. Remember an interview is 70% about fit. Use people’s names, be strategic about your body language – lean in when necessary, emphasize key points with your hands and make eye contact – and most importantly – show appreciation and understanding about their needs. #helpmehireyou
3. Story Telling Yes – this is important. Super Important! Remember we hire for fit and hire for skills as well. So any recruiter/hiring manager wants to see EVIDENCE of what you have done and most likely will also do for them! So use a framework – give details, and do it in a compelling way. #CAR #itsallaboutyourstories
4. Research I am still surprise (and annoyed/disappointed) with the number of interviews that end up going nowhere because of a lack of preparation from the candidates. How can you struggle with questions like: ‘What do you know about us? | Which product interests you the most? What do you know about our CEO?’ and last but not least – ‘Why do you want to work for us?’. Remember – in today’s era – The Era of Concepts and Ideas – we want to see candidates making use of the information and going above and beyond to showcase how much they want to join a team/company. The only way to do that – is to show your knowledge about the company and their needs. #research #showmeyouwanttoworkhere
5. Never, NEVER Bad mouth your previous employer/colleagues – show negativity… Don’t go there… 9 out of 10 times it will backfire… Also do not share confidential information, ever period. #dontshootyourfoot
6. Ask GOOD questions My advice to all clients is to turn this opportunity into a working discussion/meeting one. Do not ask questions about on-boarding process, mentors, support, benefits – DON’T! Ask questions that allow for feedback on your performance, skills – and even about any reservations on your resume. Time to be assertive and show how much you want the job! #bebold #wantthejob
7. It’s all about peeps So very often forgotten…. Jobs are about people. Companies are nothing without people… we are SOCIAL BEINGS… So smile, and make a human connection! You would all be overwhelmed with the amount of feedback I receive from employers about candidates who did not smile nor appeared ‘human’ enough in an interview. #domockinterviews #asmileopensdoors
Learn more about CoachRod here
Know yourself, know your target markets, promote yourself! Accept learnings, but don’t approach the job market from a position of inferiority! In my view and CoachRod’s mission is be humble…. the right way.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a panel speaker at The BC Immigrant Professionals Conference. Being a part of these events allow me to share my experiences and motivate new immigrants and that inspires me. That’s when I hear time and time again from fellow speakers and even immigrant counselors that immigrants have to be humble, take their time, after all it’s okay to reset their careers. Well – I beg to differ.
And once again, as in several other events I had a feeling my advice was going against the tide and telling my fellow immigrants exactly the opposite:
It is not okay to reset your career!
What I propose and the mission of CoachRod is to empower others to take control of their careers and make their own luck, by learning always, but never feeling their experience is less important than anybody’s.
This is my mission: To empower newcomers to achieve success by approaching everything they do with drive, preparation, research and a strategic mindset.
But before this gets too controversial please allow me to go on record and say that it is okay to be humble and take every opportunity to learn. This is what makes us humans and pushes us forward.
What is not okay is to approach the job market from a perspective of inferiority as that will definitely put you in a tough spot – and that’s what’s NOT okay about being humble in your job search in Canada.
So avoid these pitfalls by strategically marketing your brand, knowing your target markets – and if then, only then you feel you have to go back to your Plan B or even C – that’s okay – but not because you did not put up a fight.
Ask CoachRod about how to better prepare yourself for the Canadian Job Market – either in loco or remotely. Be prepared and create your own success path.
Afinal – o que é networking e coffee chats no Canadá?
Networking, informational interview – how to go about?
These are a few of the most common questions I get asked from clients – regardless of where they are from originally. But hardly ever anyone takes the time to explain what that means, and how someone who’s new to the country should go about? Is networking = a business card hunt? The more business cards I get, the more successful I’ll be? Definitely not. It’s all about rapport, and building relationships!
The most common mistake job seekers make is to seek for the short cut, the transactional networking, the express order; and that – i am glad to say it will not work. After all – why should it? Do I know you?
Remember – business decisions are made by people. Hiring decisions are made by people – and more and more companies are looking for the right fit, values, and that strong alignment that works both ways. So that’s what networking and informational interviews are all about – building relationships, developing trust and finding champions who will be great ambassadors of your most valuable product:
So don’t focus on how many people nor business cards you meet/collect. Focus on having 1-2 solid conversations every week, and really committing and dedicating yourself to building those into solid relationships. That’ll work – I guarantee!
Here’s 5 rules that’ll help you to create rapport:
#1: Remember people’s names;
#2: Ask questions about spelling, pronunciation, or the meaning of names;
#3: Balance the asking and the telling;
#4: Look for things in common;
#5: Listen, truly listen.
If you’re interested in learning more about networking and info-interviewing best practices, ask CoachRod.
Hi Everyone and Happy Halloween!!!
Well – Canada is a very small job market, and depending the industry and location, you may be looking at less than 2,000 people working in your industry of choice therefore getting connected and understanding that all interactions matter is KEY!
The most frequent question I get from all CoachRod’s clients is about networking. What it is and how does someone go about it?
Well, let me start by saying I wish there was a simple answer to it – hell, there is not.
My initial response has 3 questions:
Q1 – Which location do you have in mind?
Q2 – Which industry and companies are in your wish list?
Q3 – What is it about people that excites you?
The first 2 questions I are not hard to figure it out, eh? Since you’re planning on setting yourself up for success those are pretty basic to-do’s to get you started. So get to it!
Question #3 is the one I often get eyebrows raising and foreheads frowning at me… Usually my advisees respond to that by saying; ‘What do you mean?’
If that’s the question I get from you too, then I have struck a point. Networking isn’t about finding a job. Networking is about being interested in people and what makes them tick, and building long-lasting relationships.
The most successful relocation and job search candidates understand what this entails and re-focus their approach to leverage what makes us all unique…
…We are social beings!
So, next time you are going to a networking event, or contacting someone via LinkedIn; stop and analyze your ask.
Are you genuinely interested in the human being or are you reaching out because of the person’s job title and company?
If you are, trust me – chances are you are not going to build a relationship, you are looking for a sale. And let’s face it, in today’s world, even closing a sale is all about relationship building, right?
Well – I guess that’s it for now. Let me know your thoughts, and drop your comments below.
*Want to know more about the intricacies of networking, ask@CoachRod.ca about Networking Strategies.
RP – CoachRod
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