Write three different letters to keep your candidacy alive
by RUTH SHAPIRO
The interview is over. You thought it went well, but the employer was noncommittal. You have more appointments set up with other companies. But if you really want the job you just interviewed for it’s time to launch a follow-up campaign of three different letters that will keep you under consideration.
How do you do this successfully? Stop thinking of the difficulty you’ve had in this competitive job market. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. He/she has three decisions to make:
1. Hire the candidate.
2. Continue interviewing others.
3. Reject the candidate
Whatever the employer’s decision you keep interest high or revive it with three letter approaches tailored to the three decisions. In each case you show you are not just another job seeker but a contributor who solves problems. (See the letter-writing workbook for actual examples of the three approaches).
Here are the three letter approaches: 1. The Thank-You Letter as a Second Chance.
You not only say thank- you for the employer’s time, but it’s a second chance to sell yourself. You can refer to points relevant to the company’s needs which you previously discussed. You can present qualifications you had not revealed. Or summarize specific assets and rephrase accomplishments. You can also cite an article related to the manager’s interest that you came across.
2. The Keeping-in-Touch Letter. You use this approach when you learn that the manager is continuing to interview others. You offer new facts to reinforce your eligibility for the job. Maybe you enrolled in a course to gain knowledge you lacked that was required for the job. In other words you don’t give up. You demonstrate persistence and enthusiasm –appealing qualities in any candidate.
3. The After-a-Rejection Letter. You’re feeling disappointed; you thought you were so right for the job yet were turned down. Is the case closed? Not necessarily, if the rejection was due to realistic business factors or perhaps specific gaps in your experience.
This approach requires strong motivation and persistence in uncovering the reason for rejection. If experience gaps are the issue, and you’ve taken action to gain that experience or knowledge you now have a reason to communicate increased suitability. The worst that can happen? Nothing. They hired someone else and are happy with their choice. But if that person proved inadequate, the position may still be open. You’ll never know this unless you test the waters with the after-a-rejection letter. Even if the job is filled, your letter is a strategic reminder of your strong interest and stick-to-it-iveness. What’s more, when you learn in your follow-up call that the job is filled, you can ask for referrals to other firms. Many executives gladly refer applicants with whom they’ve had good rapport.
As these three letter-writing approaches reveal, you can set yourself apart from the competition by staying in the game. You will make your points quickly and convey your individuality by using what I call “plain talk on paper,” writing in a clear, concise, conversational style as if talking face-to-face. By developing this direct mail campaign of three letters you’ll give tangible evidence of your interest in offering solutions, not merely landing the job.
Ruth Shapiro is a charter member of the Career Counselors Consortium, and author of the workbook, HOW TO WRITE JOB SEARCH LETTERS THAT LEAD TO INTERVIEWS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at at 212-633-0270.