Q: Dr. Ima, I recently interviewed for a new job. What is my next step?
A: Making sure you’re remembered by the interviewer is key, so typically a follow-up letter is sent soon after an interview has occurred. This letter serves more than one purpose. The most obvious purpose is to thank the prospective employer for his or her interview time. However, there are other reasons to send a follow-up letter.
You can use the follow-up letter to express ideas that you forgot to include in the interview or to highlight specific information about your experience. For example, have you ever gone through an interview and felt like there were questions that you could have answered better or could have elaborated in a more complete way. Or perhaps you forgot to include information that was relevant to fulfilling the requirements of this position?
Following the interview, it is much easier to remember things when you are out of the pressure-filled situation. Put your post interview insight to work and create an advantage for yourself by including critical information in your follow-up letter.
Sending a follow-up letter also creates the opportunity to get your name in front of the prospective employer once again. Be sure to let the employer know that you are still interested in the position (if you are), and use this as one more way to show your enthusiasm for the job. Reaffirm how well you believe you will fit within their organization and feature your skills and qualifications one final time.
Even if after your interview you know that you aren’t interested in this opportunity or you are told that the employer will not be pursuing your hire, you should still send a follow up. This shows a certain level of class and keeps the door open for any future opportunity. Don’t ever burn any bridges in the job search process, for you never know when your paths will again cross in this industry.