Following Up: When and How to say “Thank you”

From a young age, most of us have been taught to say “Thank you” to people when they help us out. For a while, that was a struggle for me. It wasn’t that I was ungrateful or not wanting to show appreciation. It was just difficult for me to articulate as a child. I really didn’t know what to say, when to say it, or even how to tell someone “Thanks.” Nowadays, many students have the same issue when it comes to professional situations. But following up is key to making a great impression.

When to Say “Thank you”:

  • After an interview
    This might seem obvious, but a large number of job applicants forget this crucial step in making a great impression. Right after an interview, send a thank you email to the person who conducted it and/or set it up for you. Express appreciation for their consideration and for taking the time to meet with you. Let them know they can reach out to you if they have any more questions, and tell them you look forward to hearing from them soon. This shows that you are grateful and that you are very interested in the position you are applying for. After that, send a handwritten card via snail mail. (You know, that thing we had before the Internet came around.) This is much more personal than an email and, for some people, a lot more familiar. However, if they will be making a decision soon, a handwritten card is not always necessary.
  • After being rejected from a job offer
    It’s often hard to handle rejection of any kind. But in handling it gracefully, you will show the employer that you are a great person to consider in the future. Just think! You might have been the person they would have hired had the other applicant not been there. So if a position becomes available in the future, they might be calling you up. Tell the employer that you were grateful for their time and consideration and that you are interested in future opportunities. This will keep you in their mind as a good person and a possible candidate for another job down the road.
  • After accepting a job offer
    This is a big one! When you send a thank you card after being offered a job, restate your title and when you agreed you will be starting. Make sure to show how enthusiastic you are about this position and that you look forward to working with this company. In doing this, you reaffirm that you are a great candidate for this position. This sets the tone for how you will be viewed in your new work environment.
  • After a networking opportunity
    If you met someone during an advice interview, a professional event, or wherever else, follow up with them immediately. Again, this shows that you are courteous, friendly, and interested in keeping up contact with them. Let them know how much you enjoyed talking with them, and express gratitude for their insight and helpfulness. Tell them to reach out to you if they need help with anything in the future and say that you will be in touch with them soon.

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