Job Interview Thank You Notes: Navigating the Etiquette

So, I graduated a few weeks ago. It was a fun, frightening, mostly exciting experience and I’m very lucky that I got to walk at commencement with a few of my best friends. Our commencement speaker was Katie Couric and she was awesome.

Two days after graduation, I got a job offer that I was thrilled to accept. I’ve officially moved to New York and starting working last week at my dream job with the agency I interned for last summer. While I was overwhelmingly sad to leave D.C. and my friends, I know that this job is the beginning of the career I’ve been preparing myself for over the past four years.

As I’ve spent a lot of time navigating the “hire me” process over the past few months, interview etiquette has been on my mind (although, it kind of always is…that’s why I write this blog). One thing that I find incredibly important that often goes unnoticed is the thank you note after an interview. Because there’s lots of conflicting information out there, I decided to break down my top tips for sending thank you notes after an internship interview or job interview.

TinyPrints thank you card

1. Handwritten vs. Email

A lot of people will tell you handwritten thank you cards are outdated, and a lot of people will tell you email thank you notes are impersonal and a product of our instant-gratification generation. In my opinion, both of these claims are false.

For a phone/skype interview: A thank you email is appropriate. A card in the mail will take too long (especially since it’s likely that a phone or skype interview is taking place with a company in another city). You want to send an email within 24 hours thanking the employer.

For an in-person interview: You have two options.

Option #1: Send a thank you email later that same day, and put a thank you card in the mail within a day or two.

Option #2 (my personal favorite option): Bring thank you cards to the interview. Afterwards, find a Starbucks and sit down and write them. Put them in a mailbox within a few blocks of the office to ensure same-day or next-day delivery!

2. The Physical Thank You Card

Do not buy a thank you card in the Greeting Cards aisle of Duane-Reade unless it is blank! Here are examples of cards that are designated as “Thank You Cards” but should not be given to a potential employer.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 10.00.24 AM

The reason these cards are inappropriate is because they’re too casual and also personal. Your thank you cards should either have a simple picture on the front with no words and a blank inside, or the words “Thank You”/”Thanks” on the front with a blank inside. I partnered with Tiny Prints again to design classic personalized thank you cards for use in professional situations. I love how they turned out!

1401025322.148436.IMG_4205

3. What to Write

Be genuine and genuinely grateful. Don’t sell yourself short – it IS a big deal that you got this interview, and this thank you card can help seal the deal. Here are my tips:

– Start by thanking them (duh) but that’s not the most important part, so keep it brief

– Include the job title and responsibilities – and remind them that you are excited about this, as well as prepared to do a great job

– Reference something – or several things – you discussed in the interview

– Keep it brief

Here’s a sample:

NAME,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with you today for the Assistant Account Executive position. I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me about XYZ company and how the AAE role fits into the structure of your team. I was particularly excited to hear that the AAE has the opportunity to do pitching and gets to work across a variety of brands, because I’m very passionate about media relations and I believe my skills in this area can add value to your team.

I also loved hearing about your favorite client activation that you’ve worked on. The X event for CLIENT sounds like something I would love to be involved with. Thank you again for considering me for this position. I hope to have the opportunity to work with you in the near future.

All the best,

Stacey

I hope these tips help you in your job/internship interview process! If you have any other thank you card recommendations, leave them in the comments or tweet @staceyalevine!

Advertisements

How To: Create the Perfect Hashtag

I recently learned of an app called Bizzabo, which helps professionals discover new business opportunities at conferences and events, while enabling event organizers to promote their event and engage directly with their attendees.

Bizzabo’s founder, Alon Alroy, has compiled a set of tips on how to create the perfect hashtag for your event. Being an event-lover, social-media lover, and a hashtag-lover especially, (and having seen my fair share of terrible hashtags), I couldn’t pass up the chance to pass these along!

Twitter-Hashtags

The perfect hashtag should be:

  • Relevant: Make sure the hashtag is related to your event and will be easy to remember as well as spell.
  • Unique: It’s important to pick a hashtag that’s not currently being used or can have many different audiences.  Choosing the hashtag #tech for a conference called Tech Startup Conference 2013 can (and will) result in 20+ irrelevant tweets per minute.  Instead, using a hashtag such as #TSC13 will allow the event tweet stream to be highly targeted with a very low possibility of getting off topic tweets or users.
  • Short and sweet: Concise hashtags are not only easier to remember, but give event attendees more character space when sharing on Twitter (though there’s no limit on Facebook).  If your event has a longer name like “Social Media Marketing World 2013”, turn it into #SMMW13
  • Well thought out: Not every event name or topic will sound good as a hashtag. It’s also a good practice to make sure that the hashtag doesn’t coincidentally form a word in another language, which could result in two very different streams colliding.

But how do I make sure people USE it?

  • Promote away:  Promote the hashtag by having it everywhere- your event website, marketing materials, advertisements, dedicated emails, the event’s mobile app, social networks, newsletters and every other channel used to reach attendees.
  • Listen:  The hashtag will not only be a way to get attendees to engage with the event, but to get attendees to engage with each other.  You’ll be able to track the conversations and not only get good feedback, but possibly even address some of the top topics and issues discussed online in the conferences’ content itself.
  • Get Creative: Don’t be afraid to experiment! You can offer discounts, create contests, or broadcast curated streams.

Have you seen any particularly great or terrible hashtags? One of my favorite event hashtags I’ve seen/used was #SLSnoms at the DC Social Learning Summit this April. Let me know in the comments or by tweeting at @staceyalevine!

How To: Dress for The Great Gatsby Premiere

“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can!”

May 9th is the world premiere of The Great Gatsby movie (at 10:30 pm instead of midnight – weird, but I’ll take it!) I’ll be heading to the movies in full 1920s garb and I’m SO excited – will you? If you need some inspiration when it comes to repeating the past, take a look at the Gatsby-inspired premiere-looks below!

Screen shot 2013-05-02 at 1.05.19 PM

1. BaubleBar Teardrop Chain Bib

2. Max & Chloe Strands of Pearl and Crystal Necklace

3. Max & Chloe Gold and Twisted Pearl Strands Tie Necklace

4. Brooks Brothers The Great Gatsby Collection Straw Boater Hat

5. BaubleBar Ice Chevron Bead Cuff

6. BaubleBar Silver Button Bangle

7. Ann Taylor Sequin Fringe Dress

8. Alyce Dress 6025

9. Tommy Hilfiger Bright Stripe Bowtie

What will you be wearing?!

Mastering the Phone Interview: 10 Tips to Help You Succeed

It’s March again, which means many of you are probably in the process of interviewing for summer internships. In the summer internship world, February is application month, March is interview month, and April is find out and decide month! Often college students will be applying for internships in cities other than where they attend school, which brings us to today’s topic: The Phone Interview.

I’ve heard from so many people that they dread the phone interview, but for some reason, I love it! In my opinion, the phone interview allows you to be the most prepared. Here are my top 10 tips for mastering the phone interview!

url

1. Do your research on the company, the position, and the interviewer. I like to read through a company’s case studies and choose my favorite, that way I can reference it when I’m asked why I’d like to work for that company. Your answer to this question should reflect why you want to work for their company, not just in the field of, say, PR. Also make sure to have a compete understanding of the job qualifications, that way you can show why you’re the best fit! I also like to look at my interviewer on the company website and/or LinkedIn, so I can get a sense of their professional background and interests.

2. Mirror the company’s phrasing. From your research, you’ll gather that each company has their own way of referring to clients, meetings, continued learning, internship programs, etc. Prove to the company that you fit in by mirroring the language they use!

3. Set up a phone interview kit. When I’m doing a phone interview, I like to sit at my dining room table. In front of me I have a notebook and pen to take notes, a glass of water, a copy of my resume and any other application materials I’ve submitted, and a list of the questions I’m going to ask at the end of the interview. I also like to have my laptop in front of me, with the company’s website and internship description in front of me. It helps me feel more comfortable and allows me to reference specific details of the job!

4. Prepare strong questions. These questions aren’t just to prove you’re interested – you want to make sure you’d enjoy working for this company, too! Some of my favorite questions to ask on an interview are: “What has been your favorite client/account to work on?” “What is the company culture/atmosphere?” “What are some of the qualities exhibited by your best interns in the past?” “How are account teams structured; do interns work primarily with one client, or several?” I also research the company and ask any questions about their specific programs that I’d like to know – be specific!

5. Prepare strong answers. You’ll never know exactly what an interviewer will ask, but there are definitely ways to prepare anyway. “Tell me about yourself” is an opportunity to showcase your strengths, passions, and dedication – not just tell them what they can read on your resume. Some other questions I like to prepare for are: “What stood out to you about our company?” “Why did you become interested in this field?” “What are some of the publications/blogs you read regularly?”

6. Dress the part. Yes, this is important for a phone interview, as well! If you’re too casual, you won’t feel the need to be as professional, especially since they can’t see you. Dress the way you want to feel: prepared!

top with basic bottom

7. Smile. It will help you sound friendly and also let your personality come across, which can sometimes be a challenge on the phone!

8. Volume, then silent. Leave your phone on full volume to make sure you don’t miss the interviewer’s call, but then flip the switch to silent as soon as you answer. You don’t want the “ding!” of a text message to come through, causing you to miss the interviewer’s question!

9. Prepare your environment. Use the lighting, room temperature, and chair that makes you feel most comfortable for this setting. Make sure not to start your washing machine or dishwasher right before the interview, and if you have any roommates, let them know you’ll be interviewing so they can keep quiet, too!

10. Email your thank-you note. Thank-you note emails have become much more acceptable in recent years (instead of, or in addition to handwritten ones), but especially with a phone interview, an email is necessary. They will definitely make a decision before your handwritten letter will reach them, so I like to send my thank-you email within 3 hours.

How do you prepare for a phone interview? Let me know in the comments or tweet @staceyalevine!

5 Ways To Occupy Your Time During Frankenstorm

Here’s what I’ve been doing all while shut in my apartment since I’ve been lucky enough to have power:

1. Bake something. I chose pumpkin bread. It was delicious.

2. Watch a movie. I spent 2 hours waiting for Grease to load (Sandy? Get it? Ba-dum-chi!) and it played for 10 minutes before illegal online streaming failed me.

3. Watch a TV marathon. Luckily for me, Netflix has all 6 seasons of Greek.

4. Catch up on work? I did this. PROUD. Annotated bibliography – check! (Though I still have a ton to do…)

5. Clean your apartment! Something you can do even without power! How exciting.

How are you surviving the storm? Stay safe, everyone!

How To: Dress Up As Carrie Bradshaw for Halloween

I love Halloween. Picking pumpkins, decorating pumpkins, baking recipes with pumpkins, toasting pumpkin seeds…and decorating the apartment. And dressing up.

But for some reason, despite my serious love for Halloween, I always find myself lacking creativity when it comes to a costume. And year after year after year, I struggle last minute to throw together a costume (part of the problem: I hate spending money on something I’ll only wear once, and you can’t repeat Halloween costumes! [Lizzie McGuire, you are an outfit repeater!])

This year, I decided to get started early. (Well, not early enough in terms of 7-20 day ground shipping on some websites – what is this nonsense?! But a few weeks early).

I came up with a costume that combines three of my loves: being girly, fashion, and Sex and The City. You got it – Carrie Bradshaw and her iconic tulle tutu skirt outfit!

Not so surprisingly, there are TONS of sites – namely, Etsy – which sell the iconic Carrie Bradshaw skirt. And in true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, they all cost over $100. I’m not spending that on a tutu skirt! Sarah Jessica Parker only spent $5 on the actual skirt from the show – she bought it out of a thrift store bin!

So here’s how I’m putting together my SATC Halloween costume for under $20:

– Tutu skirt, Amazon.com: $17 (including shipping)

– Pink tank top: borrowed

– Strappy sandals: own

– White ribbon belt, craft store: $2

And as for makeup…fresh face, brown eye palette, rosy cheeks, pink lips! And hair will be teased, teased, teased.

Check back after Halloween for pics of me (hopefully!) pulling it off!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Let me know in the comments, or tweet @staceyalevine!

Apartment Decor DIY Roundup

I’m moving into my new apartment in August, and since I’ll be starting fresh with a clean, white tabula rasa, I’m very excited to decorate.

I really enjoy crafting/how to’s/DIY, and there’s no better occasion for that then adding to my home decor.

Below check out the photo/link roundup I did for DIY plans for my new apartment. If you have any other tips you’ve tried, or want to try, please share!!

Paint-Dipped Utensil Handles

20120709-135443.jpg

 Scrabble Tile Coasters

20120709-135450.jpg

Rope-Wrapped Coffee Cans

20120709-135503.jpg

Picture Frame Bathroom Dish

20120709-135508.jpg

Fabric-Covered Shoebox Lid Key Hooks

20120709-135513.jpg

Painted Chalkboard Platters

20120709-135519.jpg

Wallpaper-Backed Bookshelves

20120709-135551.jpg