Thank You For Your Time

You’ve got a great resume, they called you to do a phone screen, and now you’ve left the interview with a good feeling. The next step is very important: you thank them for their time.

Remember when grandma or mom used to make you write thank you letters after your birthday or maybe a holiday to let people know you were thankful for your presents? Yeah, let’s continue that trend into adulthood as well. Writing a sincere thank you note (or email, depending on the job or industry that you may be in) can make or break the hiring manager’s decision to bring you on (take it from me– i know from personal experience).

The card doesn’t have to be anything extravagant nor will this cost you much (if anything). You can easily run to your local super store and check the greeting card section for a blank box of thank you cards. You can be generic and just buy the ones that literally say “thank you” on it or you can get something a little bit fancier, maybe if your initial on it. Either way, keep is simple and appropriate. Refrain from too much color or movement going on the front. You will also need to get some stamps (and some bank’s ATMs have that option, so easy peasy! Don’t even need to go the post office).

Next, I recommend typing out what you will say in a word processing software to make sure that everything will be spelled correctly. It would be very embarrassing for you if you misspelled something when you were trying to show how clever and mature you are. The general guideline of what to write should follow:

  • Thank them for having you there
  • Mention the position you applied for
  • Talk about one bullet point of what the position would entail
  • Discuss how you can fix/help/enhance the opportunity or gap that may have been mentioned during the interview AND/OR how the department/organization could benefit form your unique skills

Keep the note to 50 words or less (including your opening and your closing lines). Make sure your handwriting is legible. And then postmark it no later than the following day after the interview (but day of would be even better!).

There may be jobs or industries that you apply to that most everything is done electronically and a hand written thank you is just crazy (think IT positions). However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send some sort of thank you. After the end of the interview, be sure you get a business card and email the individual(s) a thank you note instead. I still strongly urge those who don’t work in that type of environment to still send the hand written over the electronic version as it will make you stand out from the rest.

Have you ever written a thank you note after an interview and receive a job offer afterwards?

Being Let Go

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Ok, let’s talk about something not to fun, but it has to be said…. being fired. It will happen to the best of us. It’s never fun (seriously, who likes being let go??). Either way, you need to have a plan in place. Here’s your surefire plan to get over this:

  1. You get one day (that’s 24 hours) to wallow in your grief. That’s it. Use this time wisely to cry, sob, get angry… whatever it is that you need to do to release the emotion. It doesn’t matter if you were laid off or fired… You will still feel similar emotions. It’s important to take the first 24 hours to get the emotions out or else you will never be able to get back to productive mode.
  2. Evaluate the situation more clearly. Alright, you’ve spent the last 24 hours wallowing away the situation. Now your’e going to put on your big kid pants on and look at the situation that led up to it.
    • If it was a Lay Off: How was the company performing? Did you work in a critical department or not? Was your supervisor acting a little off? What was your gut telling you?
    • If it was a Let Go: By this, I mean that your employment was terminated due to some sort of performance issue. The odds of your boss “just hatin’ on you” is very slim, so you’ll have to be very honest with yourself in this section. Let’s evaluate it: How was your performance? Were you just skating by with the bare minimum? Had you been on a performance improvement plan already? Where you getting along with other people? Did you follow the policy correctly (or not)? Where you coming in on time (most common way to get terminated for young adults)?
  3. Consider where you can improve. After evaluating how you were eliminated, now you need to figure out how you can develop and improve upon yourself. The biggest part about growing up is constantly looking for ways to improve because if you’re not growing, you’re not going anywhere.
    • If it was a Lay Off: Write down some of the signs you were seeing. What were some rumors you heard? How was your supervisor acting towards you? Now, file your list to the back of your mind until the next time, when you’re a lot more prepared for it.
    • If it was a Let Go: Understand what behaviors you did, what actions you did (or did not do) that led to the ultimate decision to fire you. Be honest with yourself because during your interviews, an interviewer may ask the question “why did you leave your last position?” and you will have to be (creatively) honest. What counts the most is what are you going to do in the future to ensure that behavior does not repeat itself?
  4. Update your resume and start applying like crazy! The majority of your time should now be dedicated to looking for your next position. Think of job searching as a full-time job now: You start your day at 8am working on your resume, checking out job listings, updating cover letters, and applying for jobs. Your day ends around 4 or 5. Monday through Friday (and maybe even the weekends!). This is your job now. After a few weeks, you will start seeing the phone calls and interviews rolling in. Don’t give up.

There will always be things in life that will throw crazy curveballs at you, both personally and professionally. If you stick to my 24 hour rule, you will have a lot easier time to recovering from those blows.

Where you ever fired or laid off from a job? Did you see it coming? What did you learn from that experience and how did you use it to enhance yourself for future opportunities?

Find Your Passion

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Figuring out what you want to do is hard. You look around you and feel like a everyone knows where they are going and you feel so alone. I’m going to let you in on a little secret….. They’re full of it! 

Seriously…. They just want to feel better about themselves because you were being openly honest. But, we’re not here to talk about them…. We’re here to talk about you and helping you find your passion, your dream, your path….

Answer this question: If money as not an object, what sort of job/career would I be in?

Now, let’s dive in a little further on that…. (Not gonna lie, there may be some research involved, but it will be worth it!)

  1. What skills are needed for that job?
  2. What knowledge base would you need to be successful? To be the best of the best?
  3. Do you need further education? Degrees? Certifications?
  4. Who do you know that have become successful in this career?
  5. What did they do to get there?
  6. How long did it take them to be where they are today?

Taking it back to where you are today…. Make a list of everything you just wrote down about your dream career. Now answer, based on where you are today, how realistic is that dream career?

I know that’s little harsh, but the odds of you becoming a race car driver when you had never had any exposure to boxcar racing may not be in your favor. BUT, what if you worked to support the driver through marketing and PR? Mechanical? Engineering the motor?

So, think about your dream job, where you are today, and how realistic would it be to get there? If that may be out of reach, what about supporting that profession in another way? If the job is within reach, start checking off the items on the list that you have accomplished now and put deadline dates to the items that you still need to accomplish. Then, get an accountability buddy and get to work!!

What did the 5 year old you want to be when you grew up? How close are you to that dream?