Welcome back!

Good Monday morning,

I’m returning to your Monday mornings with advice, tips, and suggestions for getting ahead in your career.  After taking a break from this weekly newsletter to produce Ladders’ best-selling guides on Resumes and Interviews, I’m back to help you make the most of the Club.

Ladders’ $100K+ Club is about making your professional career more rewarding, more enjoyable, and more fulfilling for you.

I’ll be covering:

Salary negotiation
Resumes
What it feels like to be your boss
My single best tip
Interviews
How I negotiated an additional $15,000 at my new job
Leonardo da Vinci’s Resume
No one is hiring a VP, Anything
Yogi Berra’s career advice

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Thanks in advance for reading!

Speaking of “thank you,” it’s worthwhile mentioning how important the thank you note is to your career search. Thank you notes are a terrific chance to remind your interviewers of what they liked best about you.

As mentioned in Ladders 2019 Interviews Guide, your interviews will focus on the three most important criteria for success in the job. In each interview, you’ll take brief notes on what each different interviewer says are the three most important things for the candidate to be great in the job. So your thank you note is a chance to reiterate your interest and re-confirm the details of your ability to deliver on the job’s three most important success factors.  

With your notes in hand from your day of interviews, review how it all went. Were the three most important things consistent across everyone with whom you spoke? Were their questions consistently on topic and directed toward hiring the same role? Were their answers to your questions consistent? Where did their answers vary? What did you learn about the role that makes your more excited? Less excited? Did you get a clearer sense of what they are looking for and what they’re not? Did they get a clearer sense of your priorities?

Your thank you note is a chance to frame your conversations and pull the company’s hiring decision in your favor. It can’t kindle a fire, but you can fan the flames a little in the direction you want to go. The length, tone, and formality should follow your industry practice, but the typical thank you note in American business practice for 2019 should be two paragraphs. People won’t read much more than that.

Thank each interviewer again and reiterate, very briefly, how you can contribute. You want to demonstrate active listening by specifically referring to something you discussed in your interview, ideally in one half of a sentence. And your note should address two or three of the key factors, reminding your interviewer of your capabilities and experience in that area. Across all of your thank you notes, you should vary content, order, and coverage a little bit. Mix up sentence and word order and use slightly different phrasings so that should your emails be passed around to others, it won’t look like you simply copied-and-pasted.

As a matter of fact, do not copy-and-paste. It’s easier and takes less effort to copy and paste, and that’s exactly why you don’t want to. Show your interviewers that you care enough and respect them enough to write an individual note. Do not use a template. And it is really much, much better if you retype by hand each of your emails to each separate person with whom you met. Copy-and-paste edits too often show up at your recipient’s inbox with font sizes varying word to word, with spacing and sentences broken up and looking awkward.

It can even be the case that the email that looks great when you send it to yourself will look awful when it arrives in another person’s corporate inbox. At Ladders, we send over one billion emails per year, and we’ve experienced firsthand how frustrating this can be. Nonetheless, the plain fact is that, relative to the time you’ve spent interviewing, and the importance of this follow up, the risk of having the formatting go very wrong is not worth it. Retype all your thank you emails by hand.

It’s also worth mentioning that some formal environments still welcome the hand-written thank you note, though very few expect it. Perhaps 5% of candidates for professional jobs ever write handwritten notes. Handwritten notes do not change the outcome one way or the other, but may add lift and momentum to your candidacy. Formalities are increasingly unexpected, and in some cases, unwelcome, in U.S. business circles. You’ll have to judge your industry’s expectations accordingly.

It’s easiest to do these notes well if you maintain the discipline of writing down notes either during or immediately after each interview. You’ll certainly never remember the specific comments later: “I enjoyed our conversation around the changes in the mobile ecosystem and how my background could be useful in designing the advertising strategy for Wakanda’s new tourism campaign.” This helps the interviewer remember why they liked you when the time comes to make a decision.

So thank you again for reading, and I hope you’ll put this advice to good use this week, Readers!

I’m rooting for you!