After the Interview: 7 Tips to Help You Edge Out Your Competition

“Thank you for your time today.  We’ll be in touch soon.”

You’ve just walked out of an interview for your dream job.  Things seem to have gone well – you were calm and poised, answered questions intelligently, made appropriate eye contact, and really put your best foot forward.

Now what?

For many job seekers, walking out of an interview marks the start of a long and sometimes anxious waiting period.  I mean, there’s not much you can do, other than sit around and passively bide your time until you find out if you landed the job, right?

Wrong.  In fact, here is a list of 7 things you can do after the interview to edge out the competition for your dream job:

  1. Always, always send a “Thank You” letter. While this may seem obvious, not everybody does it.  As soon as you get home (while the interview is still fresh in your mind), compose your note.  Instead of sending a generic “one size fits all” letter, step into the interviewer’s shoes and address the points which seemed most important to him or her.  Additionally, use your “Thank You” letter to restate your qualifications and identify relevant accomplishments or experiences that you did not mention in the interview.  While you want to include these details, remember to keep the letter both brief and professional.
  2. Make sure your “Thank You” note is letter-perfect and timely. Gather business cards for everyone who interviewed you, use LinkedIn, or call the company directly to ensure correct name spellings and job titles.  Have a friend proofread your letter and send the note within 24 hours of the interview.
  3. Confirm the best way to follow-up. Before you leave the interview, find out from the receptionist the way (regular mail, e-mail, FAX, etc.) interviewers would prefer you to contact them.  If you contact these people via their preferred method of communication, your follow-up will be better received.
  4. Contact your references. Let them know where you’ve interviewed and that they may be receiving a phone call.  This way they can be prepared to help you shine.
  5. Leverage inside references.  If you know anyone who works at the company, contact him or her and describe your interview experience.  This contact may be able to provide you with inside information on the hiring process or even offer to put in a good word for you.  A word of caution:  never pressure an inside contact, or ask your contact to apply internal pressure for information – doing so could backfire.
  6. Send work samples. Depending upon the position, you may be able to create an additional follow-up opportunity by sending samples of your work (collateral, proposals, project summaries, etc.).
  7. Don’t pester. Rules of follow-up etiquette vary, and it’s up to you to determine the appropriate timing and frequency of follow-up.  If a hiring decision is expected to take 30 to 60 days, it’s completely inappropriate to call every day.  On the flip side, if the position needs to be filled immediately, don’t wait two weeks before following up.  Your goal should be to follow-up appropriately, consistently and using the interviewer’s preferred method of communication (see #3).

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