Monday, June 21st, 2010
133

Job Advice for Youngs: The Thank You Note

THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKEOkay, yes, I'm old. I don't just like white wine-I like ice in my white wine. I collect cute cocktail napkins illustrated with flowers and farm implements. I only just discovered Lady Gaga. I really like BBC America. And I can genuinely list ‘travel' as an ‘interest.' I am, in other words, entering my later-30s.

I also like to write, and receive, thank you notes. No, not thank you emails-thank you notes. Those little folded cards or scraps of notebook paper that require stamps and the decrepit old machinations of the US Postal Service. And I am here to tell you: I am not alone. Other old people (like the ones who interview you for jobs) like thank you notes, too. In fact, they expect them. And when they don't come, it can be a problem. For you. How? Keep reading.

While I appreciate personal thank you notes from family members for gifts, or friends for baby stuff (see, I'm old! My friends have babies!), or for wedding presents, etc., I'm really talking about the professionally-oriented thank you note here, the one you write after a boss of some kind, or really anyone more senior than you in your chosen profession, takes the time to interview you for a job that exists, or might potentially exist, or even just offers you some "career advice" or sits down with you for an "informational interview." Especially in the latter situations-the one where there is no actual job, but could be somewhere in the future-the thank you note is crucial: you think all those other dopes making the rounds send thank you notes? No. If you do, you will be remembered.

Here's a story: When I was much younger I was in charge of hiring interns at my then-job. A young woman came in and we talked; I had decided, ultimately, that she was over-qualified, and was not going to hire her for the unpaid position. She sent me a hand-written thank you note, and later, when I was hiring fact-checkers for actual money ($15/hr in the 90s-Eureka!) I remembered her, called her, and employed her steadily for a year.

Here's another story: I was up for a job not so long ago at a magazine, and I sent thank you notes to everyone I met. I found out later I was the only one up for the job who did that, and that this had earned me a reputation for being "classy." (So what happened? I pulled out of the running and decided to stay where I was….but still. I was the "classy" candidate!)

So now that I have you convinced that yes, you do have to write thank you notes, you might be craving instructions. What do I say? How do I write it? Etc. Here are the essentials to penning a job-oriented thank you note:

First, stationery: I recommend cards from Snow & Graham, or really anything letter pressed. However, your regular old Crane's cards (they're having a big sale right now) do just fine, too (and the company makes a number of selections with graphic designs and prints that aren't too cute or loud).

If you want to go even higher-end, a graphic designer friend who also loves thank you notes recommends Fabriano Medioevalis.

Don't pick anything that seems gender-specific (meaning: no pink, basically) or anything with a cartoon or doodle or ladybug on it.

Second, pen: Select a fine-point pen with black ink. Your penmanship is probably terrible after all those years of texting and computerizing. If you use a pen with a thick tip the ink will bleed too much and your note will look scary, like a monster wrote it. Print, unless your cursive is excellent.

Third, wording: You do not have to go fancy. If you called the person by their first name in emails, then use their first name. If not, stick with the formal: Mr. or Ms.

Do not use Mrs. or Miss. This is not elementary school.

For the body of the note, all you need to do is thank the person for taking time to meet with you. And if you want the job, if there is a job, say you are excited about the possibility of working with the aforementioned addressee. Do not use the note to re-promote yourself, or reiterate your accomplishments. That is obnoxious. We already talked to you. We have your resume.

Remember: Thank you notes are humble-they show you are taking the time to thank someone for taking their time out for you. This is what the email can't accomplish: emails are a dime a million. We write them all day, we know they take five seconds (and the really good ones take about ten.) We also write thank you notes, so we know they take time
and focus and involve hand cramps. We know it's a pain in the ass for you to write them, look up our addresses, track down a stamp that is actually of the correct value…. But that's the entire point.

Thank you in email and thank you on paper means the same thing: Thank you. But the gesture of actually writing a note? Damn, it means you actually care.



Pearl Hawthorne is the pen name of an employed lady (hence the pen name) who frequently comes into contact with the young people.

133 Comments / Post A Comment

saythatscool (#101)

You forgot to tell them – naked pics or gtfo.

deepomega (#1,720)

Thanks for classing it up by not using the traditional "tits". That's real fancy of you.

saythatscool (#101)

Well it could be a guy!

gumplr (#66)

I have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?

saythatscool (#101)

I want to try.

C_Webb (#855)

Pearl Hawthorne. Hee.

I agree with all of this, so much that it seems appropriate to confess that I'm divorced and would like to change my name back, but I'm waiting until I run out of my gorgeous monogrammed stationery.

zidaane (#373)

After you quit that job, it's ok to send an anonymous e-card telling your old boss things he might not be aware of. Like how a toothbrush works. Wait a few weeks to do this.

deepomega (#1,720)

As a Young, I think this is also largely dependent on the field you want to get in on. I can't think of any people in charge of hiring animators who wouldn't be SUPER WEIRDED OUT by this.

garge (#736)

I actually employ this practice a lot with teh art peoples. Although maybe it feels less natural if you are a Dude, and who knows what people say about me behind my back. I just make sure to save my engraved cat stationary for my mom and known cat bloggers.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

deepo, some ye olde artschool pals of mine, were they to hire a young artslave, would surely appreciate a thank-you card- handwritten and signed with your finest graff-tag.

deepomega (#1,720)

Art if you are lying about knowing MK12 I will fucking eviscerate you.

(Before I came to LA I applied for work there – didn't hear back, but frankly I wasn't good enough for them at the time. They are a towering giant in my field!)

Art Yucko (#1,321)

yes, deepo- I know. No, I'm not lying. I knew Ben and Jed from school. Also know Tim. Great guys, all. Hardly ever see them though, as they always, always be workin'.

deepomega (#1,720)

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

MADNESS. You blew my mind today, Mr. Yucko. I hope you're happy. And to address the topic at hand, if I weren't so deathly afraid of non-digital media maybe I'd feel differently about hand-tagged thank you notes. The travails of Youth.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

just let me know where to send the you're-welcome-card. Pony express leaves for LA on wednesday, so you'll get it in 2 weeks.

As a Creative Director in the animation field (and an almost old), I agree, the hand-written note might seem a little strange, unless it's really artful or really funny.

In lieu of the hand-written note, I always write a follow-up thank you email for any sort of meeting. Whether it's for a job, a meet-and-greet, new client or whatever. Always.

You'd be surprised (or not) how many people don't even do that much.

deepomega (#1,720)

As I'm thinking about it more I could see it working for someone with a really kick ass well-designed card on good stock, that they clearly designed themselves, with some low-key nice to meet you sorta stuff written therein. If your style is street enough you could probably throw in some custom stickers or whatever and actually carry through on branding.

fairest (#413)

Do you think youngins would still sign thank you notes with "Thanks!"?

katiechasm (#163)

Heh. I do this sometimes, but only because it seems wrong to write "Warmest Regards" or "Continued Success" to someone who is far more powerful than me.

Tuna Surprise (#573)

Thank You Note From a Millenial:

Hey!
I'm so happy you were able to meet me in person. Turns out I'm as great in person as I am on paper, amiright? Again, I'm sorry I had to deny your Facebook request to friend me – I still have tons of embarassing pics on there! I've been meaning to delete them but I've been soooo busy. Also – that tweet I sent a half hour after our interview ('just met w/a crazy bitch') totally wasn't about you. I promise!!! Anyway, check out my etsy store if you have time. As I said before, I'm just looking for work to hold me over before my organic knitting store takes off! Wish me luck.

flossy (#1,402)

So… you obviously got my note, why haven't you hired me yet?

Bridget Callahan (#5,234)

Then you have my company, which makes you go through two phone interviews and two in person interviews.

I can't afford that much stationary.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

"Thank you, Mr./Ms. Resume-Scanning Software, for giving my application a passing score! Looking forward to my 2nd rejection letter from your HR Department!
Clicks,
Jobhunter P. Schmuck"

hungrybee (#2,091)

A stash of plain ivory notecards is always in my desk, and it's been an asset professionally. People really do remember the handwritten correspondence they receive.

Mount_Prion (#290)

You're always the "classiest" candidate to me.

Carnage Hall (#5,633)

As a Caveat Lector and to point out a (possible?) generational response: I work in a position that carries some HR capacity and I HATE HATE HATE thank-you notes. I throw them out unopened and unread. I find them tooth-achingly twee and precious.

I met you, we shook hands, I'll call you if I need to follow up. Thanking me for simply doing my job is not necessary and–for me, anyway–always strikes the wrong note.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

-gasps! drops quill pen-

You must be some kind of savage.

garge (#736)

But what if they have pressed flowers or concert tickets inside!

deepomega (#1,720)

What if they come with a coupon for 50% off a bottle of the liquor of your choice?

Art Yucko (#1,321)

OR BRIBE MONEY?!

Carnage Hall (#5,633)

Mostly they just have little pictures of smiling bunnies. And crap handwriting. The youngs don't manage the non-spell-check world as well as they think they do.

@CH: You're a rough and jaded dame, CH.

*Pats bench, makes "Come sit next to me" gesture.*

Carnage Hall (#5,633)

Please accept the following thank-you note for your kind comment.

Dear Booookishloksh,

Thanks so much for making anice comment about my post! And taking the busy time out of you;re schedule also. I am completely convincd that I would be a good addition to you're list of people to sit next too. We could talk about my coment and also jazz dance, which I study and which is an interest. Thanks and I will call you're office to follow up soon!

Carnage Hall

@CH: "Addition"? Don't you mean "edition"?

katiechasm (#163)

@Carnage Hall: Most of the people I know write like that even when spellcheck is available.

Its horrifying, and also your smart.

MollyculeTheory (#4,519)

Also, most science professors would respond "What the shit is this? Correspondences? Where is my trash can? I cannot find it under the piles of rejected grants."

Screen Name (#2,416)

I'm sorry, but this whole letter writing business is just plain crazy. Why would you send Anthrax or explosives through the mail to someone who might be considering hiring you? It doesn't make any sense.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Or itching powder! What's wrong with a friendly little tickle?

Dear writers of thank-you notes of all ages:

That's "thank-you note"! If you are using the noun, it is also "thank-you."

As in:

I am sending this thank-you note as a thank-you for being such an awesome editor who enforces Webster's 10th with integrity and panache.

saythatscool (#101)

I remember when I broke my first hyphen.

I remember. You were so nervous. You kept muttering about compound surnames and such. But I was gentle, reminded you that http://www.m-w.com shows all the word breaks so you never have to worry.

I was there for you, wasn't I, baby? Didn't I blow your mind?

saythatscool (#101)

You were the best. Sorry about only lasting 20 seconds. With practice, I eventually became a Johnny-cum-later.

Someone else taught you about the ellipses, huh? *sniff*

SquarePeg (#1,098)

I need a cigarette.

Is it ok to reuse thank-you notes (whited out, of course) that wrote but did not mail out?

deepomega (#1,720)

You can probably find a guy on Craigslist who will wash it as clean as a recently-bleached check.

beatbeatbeat (#3,187)

A simple thank-you email (to the FOUR different people who interviewed me, in person) helped me get my first job sitting in front of a computer reading blogs all day, and I didn't even have any previous experience!

"Do not use Mrs. or Miss. This is not elementary school."

Aside from the fact that one would generally not know this sort of detail from a job interview (god, I hope not!) can you explain this further? I was raised by foreigners so I'd tend to use Captain or Archbishop or Your Excellency as long as it were correct and I have to be talked out of that tree real easy-like lest I get spooked and bite someone.

But then again, I'm not a young person.

Carnage Hall (#5,633)

I prefer "Darth."

scroll_lock (#4,122)

"Commodore"

saythatscool (#101)

"Senor Bitch-Magnet"

deepomega (#1,720)

Inquisitor.

"Bad Mother Fucker"

kneetoe (#1,881)

Also, if you think this isn't elmentary school, then you haven't been paying attention.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Books- you left your wallet at the diner again. I'll drop it by later, Honeybunny.

Bittersweet (#765)

@My Number: of course you don't know marital status from a job interview, which is why "Ms." is a convenient catch-all for the laydeez.

@STC: what about for women? Senora Douche-Magnet?

Carnage Hall (#5,633)

"Leigon."

Carnage Hall (#5,633)

Or even "Legion".

C_Webb (#855)

"Czarina" lends pre-Communist panache.

Charlie (#4,250)

@CH. there's a word for that. it's called metathesis. not sure it was intentional. i'm a young. don't take anything i say with serious. thank-you.

@Bittersweet: Of course no one should use either if unknown but she seems to be implying that even if known they shouldn't be used. Which seems odd to me.

Bittersweet (#765)

@MNIMA: for some reason, "Ms." is always more professional. The only people who refer to me as "Mrs. Bittersweet" are (yep) in or involved with elementary school.

@C_Webb: my snobby, used-to-speak Russian undergrad self demands it be spelled "Tsarina." But otherwise, carry on.

Crantastical (#4,127)

I was actually working for a Rear Admiral recently. (I'm a coast guard contractor)

Derek Jenkins (#5,638)

Dear Potential Employer,

I have been looking for a full-time job for over a year. I consider my approach highly professional, and I have followed up the two(!) interviews I have received in that time with thank-you notes.

But you know what would be nice? A simple form update from prospective employers on the status of the positions for which I've applied. An e-mail, a form letter, a notice on your website. Anything but complete silence. That would make writing and rewriting and writing and rewriting cover letters for each different position seem less completely insane and pointless.

Sincerely,

A Young (or at least a Person who has been made to feel like a Young by repeated failure to fulfill basic societal imperatives)

kneetoe (#1,881)

HA–The sound of hearing nothing after an interview IS one of the silentest silences.

erikonymous (#3,231)

Yes! I interviewed at Ogilvy & Mather a couple years ago. The lady (though maybe that's too strong of a word considering how condescending she was to me) kept me there for two hours. I sent an email follow-up the next week, and I don't care what Pearl says, an email had better be good enough in this new, bold Internet Age. No reply, no reply. Fuck you, lady!

deepomega (#1,720)

Ugh yes. The stony silence of terrible HR departments. Nothing worse in the world.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

I sometimes wonder if the commentators here at The Awl have jobs at all. If so, how can they possibly invest this much time in refreshing the homepage and thinking up such witty repartee? And, if they don't have jobs, is it because they didn't write thank-you notes?

garge (#736)

I think there's something in your eye.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Some of us have rill jobs, which is why we NEED to comment at awl.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

So, really, I'd be sending a thank-you note to someone who will hire me to work at a job that will necessitate trolling a website calling themselves The Awl in order to keep my sanity? You Olds make The Future sound counter-productive to The Youngs.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

what the scroll said!

@garge: mrrow! (lick paw, paw wipes eye.)

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Pardon me: Ye Oldes.

deepomega (#1,720)

Personally, I am blessed with a job with a lot of one to three minute downtime. And a wasted youth of watching Mystery Science Theater really lent a lot of rep to my partee.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Deepo- I crushed so hard on Joel. Mike was just meh.

@Winky Kitty: Do not fret. Unlike you youngs, we Oldens can do three or four things simultaneously.

It's tea time! I'll take a splash of skim in that Earl Grey you're about to brew me, thanks, honey.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Pearl Hawthorne… Pearl Forrester…?

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@garge @Art: I like to think Kitty's winking at me. Nice puss.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

@Book: I tried to wiki "Earl Gray" because I thought he was a racecar driver? Then I got sucked into clicking articles for awhile. Then I played Bejeweled. And now your tea is cold. I'm sorry, but it's tough to personal assist you AND have an Iphone!

garge (#736)

@scroll_lock, A.R.C: I like it! She reminds me of my own little monster: http://twitpic.com/1ysott

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Blocked! I'll have to trust it's cute.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

@garge: Goddamn that is a cute cat. Should I send you a thank-you note for letting me see her?

garge (#736)

@A.R.C.: I thought that was implicit.

deepomega (#1,720)

@ARC @garge: I'll just leave this here.

garge (#736)

@deepo: is that one of those catnip bananas? I have been trying to find one of those for ever!

deepomega (#1,720)

YES. It is his most favorite toy by far. His first one is now a sad deflated canvas bag, so he got a replacement just a week or two ago. Have an interlink!

http://www.amazon.com/Yeowww-Organic-Catnip-Yellow-Banana/dp/B000AUJFHE

garge (#736)

Thank you–I can't wait to spam their customer images! (Moxley, for christsakes. ADORABLE)

Bittersweet (#765)

I'll see your adorable kittehs and raise you one just-born puppy who will eventually look like this.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

ahem. Is there some sort of Cute War going on down here? Did I hear Cats Fired?

deepomega (#1,720)

I'm sorry, what? I couldn't hear you over the roar of my Adorable Cannon.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

In case you didn't hear about my infection. It's a kitten-addiction.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

I don't really know what I meant there. I was just giddy to post pictures of cats.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

welcome to my minefield of meowch.

deepomega (#1,720)

wat

deepomega (#1,720)

I sunk your cattleship.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

I'm nowhere near exhausting my kitty cache.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

…sure you want me to wreck this litterbox?

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

I've been waiting… Radio the cattalion!

deepomega (#1,720)

Trust me, I'm ready with a cattering ram.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

I order an all out cattery assault.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Let's just call it a draw.

Bittersweet (#765)

Help, my pookster is drowning in the Catspian Sea! Dog Lovers of the World, Unite!

Maevemealone (#968)

We've been interviewing folks here lately and my manager was super impressed with a girl who over night fedexed her hand written thank you note! Only problem was, she didn't really remember the girl from the interview… so there's that problem as well.

garge (#736)

I solve this problem by just writing mine in advance, and handing them to the Mr.'s and Mrs.' on the way out, yo.

Carnage Hall (#5,633)

Dear Meavemealone,

Thank-you for being nice to me at the commenter Bawl! It was fun drinking and talkign aboiut people with you're friends. How do you liek my commentr name? It was goin to be Flatiron building but I was afriad everuone wuld think I was fat.

Awl best,

Carnage Hall

kneetoe (#1,881)

That's why you should include your picture.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Glamour shot.

Maevemealone (#968)

HEY YOU! I was going to harrass you to register that name!! This is an excellent runner up. I owe you an email! I will do so when I do not have a firewall in my way!

saythatscool (#101)

@Carnage: Alright, fess up. Who are you for those playing at home?

Maeve, did she use her current employer's fedex account or did she pay the $20?

Maevemealone (#968)

@kitten She paid the $20! Also job interviewing tip I've gleaned from my manager: she has a HUGE peeve about notepads. Bring a notepad! Open it on the table! She doesn't really even care if you write anything down, but she downgraded everyone who didn't have one. ACT like you're about to interview her!

roboloki (#1,724)

i only hire youngs that make a reference to lady gaga, facebook or programing on the television machine in their interview or on their resume. that way i know they're hep.

KarenUhOh (#19)

The problem with this theory is, some of us have less than great handwriting.

I once wrote a note to a potential employer. Who wrote back:

"Congratluations on surviving the electrocution."

Spirochete (#1,123)

I have always had almost illegibly bad handwriting. Then I went and compounded the problem by breaking my writing arm into ten pieces, at the wrist, about eight years ago. Now the only way I can write anything out so that potential thank-you note recipients can actually read it is by writing with a thick-nibbed Sharpie. Pro: I've sent a thank-you note! Con: it looks like it was written by a five-year-old.

I'm pretty sure I failed the bar because the graders couldn't read my essays.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Like reproductive rights and the relative merits of different tampons, this seems like the sort of thing best left to the ladies. A handwritten thank-you from a dude would just be weird.

City_Dater (#2,500)

@DoctorDisaster:

Oh please. Sack up, buy some paper and stamps.

The world is not so much divided into Man Things and Woman Things as it is divided into Child Things and Adult Things.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

A Man Thing to send as a thank-you note would be a bloody deer heart.

Emdashes (#5,643)

This is where I get all of mine–the ones with a single initial at the top say "I'm classy and now you won't forget the first letter of my name!"

I, too, have hired people because they wrote a paper thank-you note. Boys *and* girls.

hockeymom (#143)

I am an old who hired a young, partially because of a TEXT MESSAGE THANK YOU.

Last winter, I sat next to this 19 year old kid on a plane. He was coming back from South America after building houses or schools or some other do-gooder thing. He was smart and funny and didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. So he asked me a lot of questions (because I am an old, not because I'm Mrs. Robinson) and took my card.

I got a text thanking me the next day. It was concise and sincere. It impressed me and I offered him a job the next week. He had no experience, but he's been working for me ever since, doing a great job.

So youngs, by all means, send a thank you. It makes us olds feel useful and forget about the fact that you all will be sending us to a death panel the minute we turn our backs.

LondonLee (#922)

I suppose a thank you blow job is too much to ask these days?

missdelite (#625)

If you have to ask…

David (#192)

Further to this, advice as to the paper you should use: Always your "best" stationary (not a note card) … Crane's makes the best paper on the planet– bond of cotton fibers, so that in 100+ years your note will still exist (even if it's buried in a garbage dump). All the stuff on wood-fiber paper will fall to bits (because there is acid in the paper that will eventually turn it black and turn into crumbs). Alternatively, both the French (G. Lalo, Clairefontaine) and the Italians (Pineider) make some great cotton stationary too.

Bittersweet (#765)

Stationary? Is the notepaper sitting really still?

(Sorry. Bugbear.)

David (#192)

STATIONERY … Right. Thanks.

blily (#1,411)

As with most issues of personal taste — well, tastes differ, even among Olds. I'm one, and if I don't get an email thank you within approximately 24 hours — with some bonus line that illustrates that you now know more about the position than you did when you came into the interview — I assume I'm not getting a thank you at all, and I cannot hire you. Paper doesn't impress me at all. And this not even for a cool field like animation– I'm talking about people I interview to be my assistant in publishing jobs.

Have to say, I agree 100%. And I have to add, if you're gonna do a thank-you note (thank you Bookish for that dash!), please do it sincerely and not because you were coached to do it.

I once interviewed 3 candidates from a single recruiter and each was obviously coached to try to get as much eye contact as possible. Each then proceeded to do crazy ostrich-like neck maneuvers to try to catch my eye as I read their resumé or took notes. It resulted in me just feeling completely awkward and passing them over.

So if you're writing a thank-you note right now? Please do something more than "thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon" on nice paper. Put something personal, something we talked about in the interview. If nothing of note happened in the interview? Then you're probably not getting the job anyway and you should save your forever stamp.

Oh, and if you were once told that presentation matters and then got a secondhand Prada suit because that's all you could afford, please GET THAT SHIT TAILORED.

Derek Jenkins (#5,638)

Oh shit, you last two assholes make me want to hurl myself into traffic. Enjoy your self-regard while it lasts, you useless fucking husks.

ProfessorBen (#1,254)

@blily, @forget, Do you convey the message that 'I hate paper' or 'dont look at me funny'? Because while I wouldn't wear Prada to interview for an academic job, or write a note to someone who radiates "I'm not old-school", others may be harder to read, so judging someone on writing a paper response, or taking more than 24 hours to follow up on something…seems a little harsh. Though obviously weird eye contact in a coached manner is TOO MUCH, and should be avoided. I do think an underlying subtext to this post and its responses is that you write a note when it can feel appropriate – you may not need to send a nice card to work at McDonalds or if it feels totally 'not-you'.

nyssa23 (#4,503)

In the unlikely event anyone actually ever calls me in for a job interview as I continue my ongoing 7-month bombardment of resumes over the greater L.A. area, I will be sure to write them a note. *sigh*

blily (#1,411)

Well I don't hate paper, it just doesn't impress me the way it does the author of this article. It's extra effort, but not the kind of effort I care about in a potential employee (the same way a Prada suit wouldn't particularly sway me one way or the other. Not that I'm stylish or sophisticated enough to recognize a Prada suit. But if I were!).

More to the point, in the past 10 years of hiring (probably 5 people altogether, maybe 25 different candidates) I've only gotten maybe two paper thank yous. And probably 75 percent of those applicants have known about this 24-hour thank you rule. So what may be seeming like me being a hardass, might actually be pretty par for the course in certain hiring environments?

The miserable thing, obviously, is not knowing what the standards are, and that certainly sucks: the best you can do is a little internet research, and attempted networking, and doing your best and hoping for the best — and in most non-recession situations that's probably going to be plenty.

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