I am a big believer in sending thank you notes after job interviews and was told when I got my first job out of college that the reason I got the job was because I sent a thank you note! In this day and age, is it better to send a handwritten thank you note or an email?
Advice from Dana
Email is not only appropriate, it’s recommended. And send the emails within 24 hours — just make sure they’re personalized.
Why 24 hours? You often interview with multiple people, right? So, when they all huddle together after the interview, they will have your thank you note. Be sure to collect business cards or email addresses from your interviewers (including phone interviewers).
You are free to send a written note, of course, especially for a follow-up a few weeks after the interview.
I’ll never forget when a candidate left a handwritten thank you note with the receptionist on his way out the door of our interview! He obviously was carrying blank cards in his briefcase and took a minute in the lobby to write a personal note. Nice touch!
Over the years I have had multiple positions in multiple industries, and that is causing difficulties in finding my next great adventure. I was general manager with a semiconductor equipment company, director with a technology transfer company, and vice president with a commercial construction company. I feel my expertise is in operations and building strong client relationships.
How can I get potential employers to see beyond my past titles? It seems when they can’t fit you in a box, they don’t know what to do with you.
Advice from Dana
For anyone that is concerned about the multiple elements in your (great!) background, it’s time to pause and break it apart. Let’s dissect it together:
- Multiple industries: This is a benefit! You have been able to apply your operational and client relations skills to various environments. Find ways to summarize their commonalities. All of them are industrial in nature and business-to-business. Do they have other similar elements? Leverage your knowledge of these industries and stay in similar industries for the positions you are targeting.
- Titles: You have been a director, GM and VP, which shows progression. However, it is well known that titles at one company don’t necessarily equate to titles at another. For example, I was a VP at Kodak then a GM at Microsoft. The only challenge I see, and that depends on the jobs you apply for, is that a new company may believe you are overqualified. Convince them through your cover letter and interviews that you are passionate about the position, regardless of title.
- Functions: This is the part I can’t see in your question, but I imagine this may be where the confusion lies. I do agree with your assessment that, “It seems when they can’t fit you in a box, they don’t know what to do with you.” It’s up to YOU to define what type of functional leader you want to be, not the hiring manager. In what department do you want to sit within their company? Don’t be squishy! Are you an operations person? Customer service manager? Sales?
Putting industries and titles from your past aside, you need to have a clear description of your job search goal and be able to explain it with clarity and confidence to your network and hiring managers. Don’t apply to roles outside of your bullseye or — you’re right — it won’t make sense.