Favorite Tip: Handwritten Thank-You Notes

  While enjoying a leisure hour or so at Barnes & Noble yesterday, I came across a couple of interesting books by Sue Moren.  I recalled seeing Sue’s interview on CBS Morning News about her new book, How to Get a Job and Keep It.  I also came across another of her books–101 Tips for Graduates

While I always encourage purchase and reading of such self-help books, you can pick up most of the tips from the two books on Sue’s great website

Here are 11 of my favorite tips:

  • Send a handwritten thank you note and follow up with a phone call.  (Culpwrit: I personally feel this gesture sets you apart from most others since I can count on one hand how many I’ve received in the past six months).
  • Keep your voice mail messages brief and always state your name and phone number slowly – write it as you say it.
  • Return all phone calls within one business day.
  • Smile when you speak on the telephone! Your upbeat attitude is reflected, and appreciated, in your voice.
  • Use cell phone savvy. Turn off your cell phone when in a meeting or interview. Know where and when to talk. 
  • Keep your e-mails short, always use spell check, never forward jokes or special promotions unless requested, use a businesslike tone, and never write in all CAPS.
  • Proofread all your correspondence, at least three times. Check diligently for grammar, punctuation, spelling and correct names.
  • You’ve got two ears and one mouth; use them proportionately.
  • Take an interest in others and learn to ask questions to get people talking about themselves;
  • Learn to give and receive compliments. When you receive a compliment, accept it graciously. When you make others look good, you make yourself look good too.
  • Always be positive, and think before you speak.

2 comments on this post.
  1. Doug Blemker:

    This post seems to establish a view that is against the grain of many career advisers. I usually have handwritten thank you notes prepared for every meeting I have with anyone and diligently work to mail them as soon as I can after a meeting. However, the last few weeks I have been reading blogs and books and talking to career counselors and almost everyone has
    mentioned that e-mail thank you notes are the way to go. The reason stated is that everyone wants the immediate satisfaction factor and
    that traditional mail just takes too long.

    I have, and will always, hold true that handwritten thank you notes are more personal and powerful to anything sent via e-mail. I’m happy to see you have the same idea. I am constantly amazed by the “knowledge” being shared by the career “experts” out there. When I
    disagree with them, I have to wonder if I’m off base (and without a job, I sometimes think I am). But situations like this, help reinforce
    that the new ideas are not always the best.

    Thanks again.

  2. Honza:

    I would use handwritten thank- you notes, but given that my handwriting is very miserable, it’s better to refrain from them. For those whose writing actually looks good, it’s a way to go. In my opinion, it’s a great way to emphasize the personal element in the job hunting process.

    CULPWRIT: You raise a good point. My handwriting is so terrible that I often have to use three or four note cards before I can even read what I wrote. So, I now write what I want to say on a sheet of lined paper before re-writing it on a card.

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