Any contact you make with a potential employer is another chance to make a lasting impression on them. It’s more than just getting the interview and impressing the company owner or HR representative with your intelligence and integrity – you have to engage in some sort of follow-up.

Be sure to follow-up as quickly as possible after an interview, be it via email or handwritten note. If sending an email follow-up, do so within 24 hours. If you end up sending a handwritten note, which is a highly recommended option, it should get to the receiver within 5 days. Don’t wait to send, as you may get lost in the shuffle. Although handwritten notes are more personal, by the time it gets to the interviewer, they may already have made a decision. It’s also okay to send both forms of follow-up.

Be thoughtful and personal in your follow-up correspondence. Hiring managers and recruiters receive generic, impersonal notes everyday. If you are competing against other people for the job, they will also be comparing your note. Use the note to tell them why you want to be there and be honest in conversation. Bring up something that they talked about in the conversation, the more personal the better.

Always proofread your follow-up letter. Again, you don’t have many chances for making a strong impression and nothing will turn off a hiring manager more than misspelled words. Making grammatical or spelling errors in a follow-up email or note also suggests that you aren’t detail oriented, which is needed in just about any role.

You can also continue the conversation after the follow-up. Don’t burn a bridge if you don’t get the job, rather, be gracious and keep the contact. It’s always good to be in touch for future job opportunities and to show that you are appreciative. Many people recommend following up once every three months with contacts that you find interesting or with the point person at a company you might like to work at in the future.

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