|Preparing for the Interview|
Why Write a Thank You Letter?
If you neglect the thank you letter, you may just lose your chance of getting the job. If you use the thank you note, you'll create an additional opportunity for yourself. You have several advantages in a thank you note that you don't have in a cover letter.
When you write a cover letter, you haven't had an interview with the person who can say "Yes, you're hired." When you write a thank you note, you have met the people and had a chance to learn something about them. A cover letter is probably written before you've seen the workplace from the inside. The thank you note is more personal and lets you talk about the workplace you have seen, and how you feel you would fit into that workplace. It's important to help the employer--the person who can hire you--to see you in that job, at that work station, doing those tasks you'd do to get the job done. One way to do this is to describe things you've done that are like the job you seek. If you want an office job, write about records you have kept. If you want something with lots of public contact, describe some meet-the-people things you've done. If you got a chance to see the work station, describe yourself at that workstation.
People make decisions based on things they can imagine as possible. Put that picture in the employer's head, and you can help the employer decide in your favor. One thing you'll want to be sure to do in your thank you note is to identify some value that the employer has and to show somehow that you share that value. For instance, if the employer emphasized working with details, explain how detailed work is one of your strengths. If your prospective employer is interested in government or politics, you might mention your ongoing interest in civic affairs. Listen carefully for the values in the interview...then identify them in the thank you note.
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