There’s a simple and fast way to enhance your job search, career, and even your life. Best of all, it takes 10 seconds or less. It’s to say “thank you” in a sincere and meaningful way. Although this action seems to be common sense, in my experience it is not so common.
For example, a past employee has listed me as a job reference on more than 25 job applications over the past eight years as she continues to change jobs and fields. The first time, she asked me to be a reference and thanked me sincerely when I said yes. But since then, she continues to use my name even though I never hear from her any longer. It’s bad job search etiquette to continue using a reference for years without asking. But it’s even worse not to say occasionally “thank you—I appreciate the time you put into my job references.”
In another example, I work with business people who request information and project quotes from me. I spend time putting together and sending the requested information in a clear, accurate, and thorough way. Rarely do I get an acknowledgement or a thank you. Sometimes someone will respond in a terse manner, which to me can be worse than no response. Even rarer are the people who respond in a polite way, perhaps commenting on the helpfulness of the information or mentioning their next steps in making a decision about the project under consideration. Although I may not end up doing business with this last group of people, I feel as if I have dealt with professional human beings. I estimate that it takes the kind, professional responders about 10 seconds to type an email that would make me want to go out of my way to help them if we end up doing business together.
Just the other day, the tables were turned, and I asked a vendor, Steve, for a complicated quote that needed to be done quickly. When Steve sent me the quote, I didn’t just type a haphazard “thanks.” I took about 10 seconds and replied, “Thanks, Steve. This information is very helpful to me. I appreciate the time and research you put into it. I will be back in touch soon.” I hope Steve sensed my sincerity and gratefulness. I may need to knock on his door again for information, and I value his assistance.
Many employers report that job seekers rarely send thank-you notes after job interviews, even though it’s such a fast and simple way to stand out. I recall interviewing job candidates who didn’t thank me for my time at the end of the interview.
I’ve learned that a genuine thank you has another benefit: in respecting and appreciating others by saying thanks, I feel better about myself and happier at work and in my life. I’m not saying you need to roll out an obsequious thank-you red carpet. But the next time you need to thank someone in your job search or life, take 10 seconds and make it a little special. Be sure to use the person's name and add specific, relevant details to your thank you. Giving a special thank you should be painless for introverts and shy people while job searching and in everyday life.
Thank you for reading my blog. I enjoy writing it and hope it helps you in your job hunt.