Thank-You Letters That Win Job Offers

By Wendy S. Enelow

Twenty-five years ago, a resume was just a formality. As the employment market expanded and diversified, so did resumes. Today, resumes are powerful marketing tools designed to sell your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments and give you a competitive distinction over other candidates.

Powerful thank-you letters should integrate the same concepts as powerful resumes — sales and competitive distinction. Thank-you letters are your second-tier marketing communications. Your first-tier marketing communications (resume and cover letter) get you in the door for an interview. After the interview, the savvy job seeker sends a letter that thanks the hiring manager, and further expresses interest in the position.

Post-interview is no time to stop selling — it’s precisely the right time to continue selling your unique skills, qualifications, accomplishments and credentials.

The most effective thank-you letters sell you into a position. Try some of these tips to write thank-you notes that bring you offers.

  • Relate your experience directly to the hiring company’s current challenges. Is the company in the midst of a turnaround? Share your past experiences in change management, reorganization and company revitalization. Highlight the things you’ve accomplished to facilitate successful turnarounds and improve financial performance.
  • Highlight how you successfully solved the major problem they’re facing in a previous role. Imagine the company has to compete in a marketplace they once owned You’d do well with a thank-you letter that shares your past achievements in strengthening market position, expanding customer bases and outperforming the competition.
  • Respond to any objections they communicated about offering you the position. Let’s say that they were concerned that you had never worked in Los Angeles, and don’t have any professional contacts in the area. Use the thank-you letter to demonstrate that you previously entered new markets and immediately developed strong networks.
  • Tell them the one great thing about you that you forgot to mention in the interview. The thank-you letter is precisely the tool to communicate your key achievements, experiences, project highlights and qualifications. Give the hiring committee the ammo they need to make the right hiring decision — you.
  • Sell you! Highlight your specific accomplishments as they relate directly to the company and the position for which you’re applying. If those items were already discussed during the interview, that’s ok. Use the thank-you letter to further expand on them and link them directly to the hiring company’s operations, current needs and future goals.

Using a thank-you letter as a marketing tool can make it longer than one page. That’s fine. The only thing that should dictate its length is the amount of valuable information you want to include. If the company has already extended you the opportunity for an interview, they’re interested and will carefully read any material you forward to them.

Your powerful thank-you letter is your chance to move their interest into a decision to hire!


Interview Questions Candidates SHOULD Ask…

By Debra Donston-Miller

We’ve all been there. It’s the point in the job interview when you’ve answered every question thrown at you in a pointed, authoritative, relevant manner.

“Now, do you have any questions for me?” the interviewer asks.

This is the make-or-break moment of the interview, say experts, especially in a market with more candidates than jobs. It’s your chance to demonstrate your insight into the organization at which you’re interviewing, your industry acumen, your communications and people skills, and your desire for the job.

“The worst thing you could do in an interview — other than passing gas — is to say, ‘I don’t have any questions — you’ve answered them all,’ ” said Mitch Beck, president of Crossroads Consulting, an executive search firm and employment agency. “Who wants to work with somebody who doesn’t have any inquiries about the company? It shows that you have no brains.”

It’s your last chance to win over the interviewer, and this scenario puts pressure on the candidate to enter the interview prepared to ask thoughtful, focused questions of their own, said Cheryl Palmer, a certified executive career coach and the founder of Call to Career, a firm that provides C-level executives with career coaching and resume- writing services.

“That’s your last opportunity to really show to that employer, ‘Yes, I’m the best candidate for the job,’ ” Palmer said. ” I always advise people to do their homework and to work any information they’ve gleaned from their research into their questions so that they really come across as well-prepared candidates.”

Good question

J.B Bryant is president of Strategic Alignment Group, a management consultant that helps businesses identify their competitive advantage. He said job hunters should look at the questions they ask during an interview as their opportunity to create a distinct competitive advantage.

“Something has to set you apart, more so, maybe, in this economy, because the employers are churning through so many potential people,” he said.

A safe way to impress an interviewer is to know everything there is to know about the company , the industry and the interviewer themselves

“Know everything you can about a company before you interview,” Beck said. “Do a simple thing like Google the person you are going to interview with.”

The questions you bring to an interview help the employer determine whether you are a good fit for the company, but they also help determine whether the company is a good fit for you.

Prospective employees may be tempted to take any job port in an economic storm, especially if they have been job hunting for an extended period of time, but a bad fit won’t benefit anyone in the long run.

“I think it’s helpful for candidates being interviewed to come up with good, thoughtful questions that are going to accomplish two purposes,” Palmer said. “They need to be able to demonstrate to that potential boss that they have really thought about the job and have some good, probing questions. But they also need to ask questions that will help them determine whether or not this is going to work out.”

Beck went further, emphasizing that the interview is the prospective employer’s opportunity to convince you that the company will be a good fit for your needs. The interview is also a chance for the job seeker to turn the tables and get more information out of the employer.

“Remember that an interview is a two-way street,” Beck said. “You have to convince the person who is interviewing you that they need to hire you. But remember: You’re not there to beg. They need to convince you just as much as you need to convince them.”

Accordingly, one of the most important questions to ask during an interview relates to expectations, Bryant said.

“In my experience, expectations are not communicated very clearly,” he said. “Most people — at every level — come in, and there seem to be an awful lot of assumptions being made, both on the new employee side and on the employer side. You hear people say that it takes six months to get integrated into a company and to really be productive. Well, it doesn’t need to. If you don’t ask anything else, find out what the expectations are.”

Bad question

Worse than silence are bad questions that a prospective employer can not answer; demonstrate your ignorance; or worse, offend the interviewer that it eliminates a job seeker from consideration.

There are some questions that have always been taboo during an interview — rushing into questions about salary, for example. But have any questions become no-no’s since the economic downturn? No, experts said. The rules are pretty much the same as always.

“The rules are the same — it’s just that ( the questions) count more than ever before,” said Call to Career’s Palmer. “That’s not to say that it was OK to ask about salary ( during an interview) before and now it’s not. It simply means that everything is much more serious because of the competitiveness of the job market. So, things that an employer might have overlooked before are really, really going to be a big deal now because you have so many qualified candidates looking for the same position.”

“Stay away from questions that aren’t going to help you any,” said Crossroads Consulting’s Beck. “Getting into somebody’s personal life is really of no interest. Asking whether someone is pro- or anti-Obama is not a good question to ask. I would stay away from questions about salary. I would stay away from questions about benefits. You want to ask questions that are relevant to the job and to the opportunity that you are being presented with.”

Bryant said it’s important for prospective employees to use their intuition to help determine which questions will resonate positively with interviewers.

“You need to feel out the personality of the person you’re interviewing with,” said Bryant. “Are you going to ask, ‘Are there any discipline issues with my (potential) direct reports?’ before you even get the job? That might be seen as meddling. But, ‘Where did my predecessor leave off?’ That’s perfectly acceptable to ask in an interview.”

5 Things You Should Not Do Upon Losing Your Job

By Steph Tortogo

If there is anything in our careers that is the most normal of all, it would be losing one. We then are inundated with various emotions and all we want to do is just let everything out and stand up for ourselves. But sometimes, there are just things that we should think twice about before doing, especially if it involves our personal feelings. Here are 5 of the things that you must not do upon getting fired from your job:

1. Unless you’re expressing appreciation and gratitude for the time that you’ve spent with the company, never send your former boss and coworkers scathing emails. Don’t even try to confront them of how you badly you thought their treatment was to you. This the business world, and no matter how enormous it seems physically, it is a small world. Word of the mouth goes fast, and this can result to bad record that could impact your life immensely.

2. Never take to your social media platforms or any of your blog sites to rant about the injustice that you felt. The internet has made the world a little bit smaller than it is, and you don’t want to make bad impressions for potential employers and your family and friends who look up to you. Even if you believe that whatever people say doesn’t matter, it will, especially if you’re in the world of business. Take note of what the great Stephen Hawking once said; “People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

3. Never look at this occurrence as the end of your dreams. Don’t dwell in the dark or shut everything and everyone out. Don’t pretend or act like there’s nothing wrong because that will just worsen the situation.

4. This may sound pretty hurtful, but it is the truth. Just because of what happened to you, don’t expect that everyone else around you is going to drop whatever they were doing prior to your situation. Life goes on. Instead of sulking about that, take interest in what’s currently going on with them.

5. Despite everything that happened, you should not take too long in looking for a new job. Don’t even hesitate to use your frustration to fuel your determination of becoming a better career person. Go out there as a new you, the one who knows what to do and acknowledges what he or she did wrong in the past, and does her best to not make the same mistake twice.

Charles Schwab CEO Reveals How He Tests Job Candidates by Taking Them to Breakfast, Having Restaurant Mess Up Their Order

What if there were a way for employers to test out job candidates and compare how each reacts to unpleasant curveballs?

Charles Schwab Corporation CEO Walt Bettinger has created such a system. Earlier this month, he shared his secret with the New York Times.Before every new hire, Bettinger takes candidates out for a breakfast interview. But what the potential employees don’t know is that every time, Bettinger shows up early and asks the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order in exchange for a handsome tip.

Before every new hire, Bettinger takes candidates out for a breakfast interview. But what the potential employees don’t know is that every time, Bettinger shows up early and asks the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order in exchange for a handsome tip.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

For an employer like Bettinger, character is everything. He told the Times that his “wrong order” test is meant to gauge how prospective hires deal with adversity.

“Are they upset, are they frustrated, or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that,” he said.

“It’s just another way to look inside their heart rather than their head,” he explained.

What are the other ways? Before offering candidates a position at the brokerage and banking company, Bettinger asks them to tell him about their greatest successes in life.

“What I’m looking for is whether their view of the world really revolves around others, or whether it revolves around them,” he said. “And I’ll ask then about their greatest failures in their life and see whether they own them or whether they were somebody else’s fault.”

Charles Schwab president and CEO Walt Bettinger. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Charles Schwab President and CEO Walt Bettinger. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


11 Things You Should Do In The 15 Minutes Before A Job Interview

Author: Jacquelyn Smith

Reposted from: Trove Business News

The 15 minutes before a job interview can be harrowing. Job seekers are never quite sure what to do with that time — but experts suggest that you look in a mirror, take deep breaths, and do whatever else it takes to get focused and stay calm.

“Those 15 minutes are your opportunity to get yourself into the right frame of mind, and set your energy and focus on who you’ll be meeting with, what you want them to remember about you, and what you want to ask them,” says Deborah Shane, a career author, speaker, and media and marketing consultant.

Here are 11 things you should do in the 15 minutes before a job interview:

1. Stay calm. When you become stressed, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. Depending on the level of your stress, these can slightly or greatly inhibit your ability to think clearly, says David Parnell, a legal consultant, communication coach, and author. “Ensuring that you remain calm, collected, and cool in the minutes leading up to the interview is necessary to avoid this hormonal elixir, and keep your mind clear.”

Career coach Anita Attridge agrees. She says staying calm before and during an interview allows you to listen better and to stay focused on how to best respond to questions. “In addition, you are better able to think how you can best present your accomplishments in alignment with what is important to the interviewer — and being calm also demonstrates your ability to deal with stressful situations.”

2. Arrive early, but don’t go inside. Few things can shake you more than running late to an interview, so always arrive early. However, be sure to wait in your car or a nearby café, as being too early can place unnecessary pressure on your interviewer and start the meeting off on the wrong foot, Parnell explains.

Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach, says you shouldn’t walk into the office building more than 10 minutes early. “It can come across as an imposition, as if you are expecting the interviewer to drop whatever he or she is doing to attend to you.”

3. Be friendly to all receptionists and security guards. When you do walk into the office’s waiting room (which should be about 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time), remember to be nice to the receptionist, security guards, or whoever greets you. “It’s very likely that he or she will be reporting back to the hiring manager about how you behaved,” Friedman says.

4. Decide on one or two things you want to be remembered for. Is it your communications skills? Project management skills? Knowledge? “Keying in on a few things that will impact your memorability and likeability is a smart way to approach the interview,” Shane says.

5. Stop rehearsing. You don’t want to use this time to over-prepare or rehearse responses, which can make your conversation seem scripted and not authentic. “You want to know your stuff, but remember your interview is a conversation. Trust that you know what you know, and that the interview will take on a flow of its own,” Shane says.

6. Breathe. This will help with the first tip, which is to remain calm. “Counting your breath is one of the most immediate and impactful techniques for calming your nerves,” Parnell says. “Simply focus on your breaths, counting each until you reach 10, and repeat.”

7. Focus on your posture. Sit in a power pose while waiting to go in for your job interview. “You’ll come across as looking more confident and poised,” Friedman says.

8. Don’t check your voicemail, email, or social media accounts. You may hear or read something that will get you all worked up, Shane says. It will distract you and throw you off your game, which is one of the worst things that can happen.

9. Briefly review your notes, but don’t do any additional research. You should be done researching, preparing, and rehearsing. But if you made any notes for yourself, this is a good time to briefly look them over. “This is not the time to be using your phone to look up the company’s recent achievements or earnings report. Giving big numbers of projects a glance at the last second is a good way to misinterpret key information,” Friedman says.

10. Look in a mirror. Duck into a nearby restroom or clothing store to check yourself out in the mirror, Friedman suggests. “You may have left the house looking like a million dollars, but you could still arrive looking like a vagabond.” This is also a great time to wash your hands and make sure your fingernails are clean and your palms are dry. If you wore comfortable shoes and plan on changing into dress shoes, be sure not to do this in the office.

11. Think happy thoughts. This may sound cliché – but thinking of pleasant things that make you smile and feel good will help put you in the right state of mind going in to the interview.

30 Simple Things You Don’t Realize You Do That Impress Everyone Around You

Re-posted from: Lifehack

Written by: Kathryn Mott

Posted: March 10, 2014

One the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to impress someone is that they assume people only pay attention to the important or “big” things they do. But the reality is that the little things are what matter most. It’s the little things we do or don’t do every day that shape us in to who we are. The little things determine how we respond when big things come in to our lives.

The kind of image you present to the world is determined by your actions, comments, attitude, behavior and even appearance. These things can be noticed within the first few seconds of meeting someone. So, how do you let people know who you really are? How do you impress everyone around you without big gestures or a lot of time? These 30 things might be simple, but they have a big impact. Their effects are lasting. People will remember the little things you do and that can make the difference you’re looking for.

1. Dress the part

Your appearance is the thing people see first. They look at your clothes, hair, shoes, etc. They make assumptions about you before you even open your mouth. If you want to impress people, dress for the occasion. Take time to get ready in the morning.

2. Be on time

If you’re late for something, you’re giving someone the opportunity to judge you without you even being there. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, then be there at that time. Waiting for someone when they should already be there is frustrating and annoying.

3. Don’t break your promises

There are too many people out there making promises they know they can’t keep. They promise something because it makes the other person feel better in that moment. The problem with that is that down the road, when you don’t follow through, the comfort that person felt turns into discouragement, frustration and even anger. If you can’t keep a promise, don’t make it. If you do make a promise, do everything you can to keep it.

4. Respect others

This includes your elders, minors, co-workers, family members, etc. This can be hard when you have to be around someone who has differing opinions than you, or who acts in a way you don’t approve of. But you can still be civil. If you look for attributes you respect in people, you will find them.

5. Be involved

If you support going green, then go green in your life. If you support your local government, then attend community meetings. Be a part of the things that matter to you.

6. Say, “Please,” and, “Thank you,” often

These are small words, but they go a long way. Expressing your gratitude to people, even for the smallest acts of kindness, shows that you see the good in people; it shows that you pay attention to the things people around you are doing and saying.

7. Smile often

Smiles are contagious. If a stranger walks past you at the store and smiles, it is a natural response to smile back. Seeing someone smile can remind others that there are things to be grateful for, that life is fun and exciting.

8. Don’t be constantly using your phone

When you are with someone, be with them. Phones are an amazing piece of technology. But they are also a distraction. Use your phone when it’s appropriate. You don’t need it out every second of every day.

9. Be faithful to your partner

We hear story after story about divorces and infidelity. It’s everywhere. By being honest and true with your partner, you are showing that you know where your priorities are. You understand what it means to be in a healthy relationship.

10. Support your children

Take time to be involved in your kids’ lives. Know what they’re interested in. Go their games, recitals, competitions, parent-teacher conferences, etc. Listen when they talk to you. Be the kind of parent they know they can go to when they have questions.

11. Personal hygiene isn’t an option, it’s a requirement

Have breath mints handy. Wear deodorant. Brush your teeth. Wear clean clothes. These are things that should be common sense, but some people really struggle with them. Talking to someone with bad breath is gross. It’s distracting. All you can think about is that you want to give them a mint. Take care of your personal hygiene and people will be more focused on what you’re saying and doing instead of how you smell.


12. Speak clearly and make eye contact

Let the person you’re talking to know that you are engaged in the conversation and that you care about what you’re discussing. Don’t mumble or look around, keep your focus on them.

13. Don’t chew gum

This can depend on the type of situation you’re in. If you’re with family hanging out or with close friends at the movies, gum is fine. But in a professional situation, gum is distracting.

14. Use humor

This can lighten the mood and bring people down from a tense state. Just make sure you’re using this at appropriate times.

15. Greet people with a handshake or hug

Determine what type of situation you’re in. You probably don’t want to go in to an interview and hug your potential boss, but you should offer them a firm handshake. With close friends and family members a hug shows a level of intimacy. It shows that you love and care about them and gives you a way to physically express that.

16. Be true to yourself

Know what you want out of life and do everything you can to achieve it.

17. Listen to others

When someone is talking to you, listen to what they are saying. Don’t be thinking of a response while they are still talking.

18. Perform acts of kindness

Open the door for someone, collect your neighbor’s mail when they go out town, make dinner for someone who just had a baby.

19. Be organized

Have a schedule and know what you have going on. Know where things are in your house, at work, in your car, etc.

20. Compliment people

Look for the good in people around you and take the time to let them know you noticed. Compliment them on their clothes, their work, their attitude, anything you can think of.

21. Share knowledge and information with others

When you have a skill or talent, share it. Teach others and share what you know and have learned.

22. Be positive and focus on the good

This can be hard when times are tough, but it’s possible. Look for the solution instead of focusing on the problem. Stay positive.

23. Help others

Help when and where you can. In most cases, chances to serve aren’t always at the most opportune times, but sacrificing your time to help someone in need says a lot about you.

24. Keep a clean car

Take your car through the car wash every so often. Clean out the inside. Don’t let garbage pile up. You never know when you’re going to have to give someone a ride.

25. Care about people

Don’t build up a wall to “protect” your feelings. Let yourself feel, let yourself care for people.

26. Don’t take offense

Things will be said and people will do things, purposefully or accidentally, that could hurt you. You can choose to be offended or to move past it.

27. Own up to your mistakes

When you make a mistake, admit it, own up to it, do what you can to fix it and move on.

28. Take advantage of experiences life has to offer

If you get the opportunity to go somewhere new, learn a new talent or try something new, do it! Enjoy life.

29. Know what’s going on in the world

Be up to date on recent news, both local and global. Be informed.

30.  Travel

The world is a big place. Take the time to go out and meet new people, learn new cultures and make new memories.

How to Improve Your Resume in 2 Minutes

I found these tips in an email from Marc Cendella, Founder of The Ladders. Marc says:

If you’re like most people, you have a resume that includes something like this:

  • Hired as Director, Tri-State Area
  • Responsible for a budget of $1.2 million
  • Managed staff of 5 in our downtown office

Your details may be grander, or your career may be at an earlier stage, but lots and lots of people have this style of information presentation on their resume.

Can you spot the error?

These resume bullet points simply describe what you did. They don’t tell your future boss how good you are at doing the job.

It’s obvious… If you’ve got a job, where you work in an office, in 2014, three things happened:
– You were hired for that job
– You had some monetary resources to manage
– You had people working for or with you

Seriously, you haven’t told the employer or your future boss anything they didn’t already know with those three bullet points.

So here are two simple tips.

First, read your resume out loud, putting the phrase “You should give me a bonus this year because…” in front of each line.

If it doesn’t make sense that somebody would give you a bonus, or increase your bonus, because of that line… delete it.

And write a different sentence that makes sense.

For example, going into your boss’ office and telling her “You should give me a bonus this year because you hired me to be Director, Tri-State Area” wouldn’t get you very far. You don’t really deserve a year-end bonus just for getting hired. (Does not apply if you’re a Japanese star being signed to play for the Yankees).

Rather, the things you do that deserve a bonus describe your accomplishments, not your position.

You increased sales. You decreased expenses. You improved the time it takes to do the tasks. You increased the efficacy of the process or product.

You made your company better somehow. You didn’t just show up… you did something well.

Which brings us to the second tip.

Count the number of $ signs and % signs on your resume. Now double them.

That is, rewrite your resume and include twice as many $ and % as were on your original resume. (And the minimum you should have, if you’ve been in the workforce for over a decade, is twenty.)

Dollar signs and percentage signs are indicators of achievements that you can quantify. Quantifiable achievements are more persuasive than qualitative achievements for most resumes.

So rather than just increasing sales, decreasing expenses, or improving task times, you..

  • Increased sales by 27% in my region through the effective use of strategic selling.
  • Decreased costs by 11% in my division without impacting productivity.
  • Generated $11 million in new bookings through database marketing.
  • Reduced server load by 73%, and server cost by 22% through refactoring old code base.
  • Save $1.2 million in recruiting and legal costs by insourcing.
  • Improved factory throughput by 17% by re-engineering the supply chain and introducing new manufacturing techniques.

When you read these bullet points with “You should give me a bonus this year because…”, they all make sense. And that’s because they provide a quantifiable achievement that made the company better because you were there.

And demonstrating to your future boss the types of achievements that he can expect from you, in numbers that he can understand, is the best way for him to come to the conclusion that you’re the right person for the job.

And that’s how you make your resume so much more effective in about two minutes on a cold Monday morning in January. And that is quite an achievement!