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A lot of people will tell you handwritten thank you cards are outdated, and a lot of people will tell you email thank you notes are impersonal and a product of our instant-gratification generation.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.

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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!

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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!

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Interview Outfits: Dress For the Job You Want…Within Reason

For my final college semester I’m taking a class called PR Portfolio, which is essentially a public relations capstone class where we work in teams to create a PR program for an actual client. The class is amazing and my professor is fantastic – it’s basically a culmination of everything I’ve learned in AU’s School of Communication over the past four years. Another great thing the class does is prepare us for the “real world” – whatever that means. Each week my prof hosts Career Corner, where she tackles another topic we’ll need for after graduation, such as negotiating a salary, turning an internship into a full time job, etc. It’s pretty fab. 1

image via

Last week, we discussed interview outfits. How do you dress to interview for a job in a field where each company’s dress code is vastly different? The professor showed us the following visual as a depiction of an appropriate PR interview outfit. 3

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A lot of the class, myself included, had some major problems with it. One classmate brought up the point that she would feel like a child dressing in her mother’s clothes in an outfit like this. Another mentioned that in an office where your interviewer might be rocking jeans and flip-flops, this seems off-message and inappropriately formal. I’ve interviewed and interned in many different office environments – I’ve worn outfits at different jobs that range from jeans and a t-shirt, to sky-high strappy heels, to corporate dresses. But at none of these jobs would a suit have been an appropriate interview outfit choice.

So stop rambling, Stacey, and tell us what we should wear, right? PR is a professional but creative field, and we need to represent our personal brand when interviewing. The outfit you choose is a huge part of that. Here’s how I feel about every interview (in the PR industry, to be fair) – dress professionally, dress appropriately, show your style & creativity. There’s a difference between being casual and being stylish.

Here’s my typical interview outfit formula: black/grey/white dress + blazer + memorable necklace + closed-toe pumps + leather purse = a foolproof interview outfit

On top of that, the clothes you wear need to be of good quality (note: not necessarily expensive, just good quality!), ironed, fit you appropriately, and they should also be comfortable! If you can’t walk in heels, please god, just wear flats (clean, leather or patent leather, black or neutral flats). Now, of course, you can always wear a skirt/blouse or pants/blouse combo, which is just as good! For tops, I recommend silk, tie neck or button down, etc. Dresses are just my outfit of choice – no tucking/bunching to deal with!

Still not sure what to wear? Check out some options for Strategy in Stilettos-approved interview styles below!

Dresses

use1

 Blazers

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Necklaces: Statement/Delicate

interview appropriate statement necklaces

delicate understated necklaces for job interviews

Pumps/Flats

shoes

Purses

bags

I’d love to hear/see what you wear to internship + job interviews, and what types of outfits you think are appropriate. Share in the comments or tweet @staceyalevine!