Job seekers these days seem to pay less attention to good manners and etiquette through the job search process  . . .

Which makes these positive qualities an even more powerful asset to those who always display them.

People with particularly good manners stand out above those who don’t bother or never really learned how.

executive branding and thank you notes

Here’s a piece of advice to job seekers at every level – from the c-suite to entry-level:

Buy a few boxes of quality thank notes and plenty of postage stamps, and start using them regularly.

Yes, I mean good old-fashioned paper note cards.

Savvy job seekers send personalized hand-written thank you’s to just about everyone they interact with in their job search – everyone involved in interviews, people in their network who provide introductions, employers and colleagues who write recommendations, etc.

With an estimated mere 5% or so of job seekers sending thank you’s after interviews, the impact for those who take advantage of this little-used strategy can be significant.

I often hear stories about job seekers who didn’t get the job, but sent thank you notes anyway, and eventually landed the job when the first hire didn’t work out. Employers were that impressed with the fact that they had sent thank you notes.

In a pinch, emailed thank you’s are okay, and sometimes the only option if timing is a factor, but they just don’t have the impact a snail-mailed one does.

Think about the last time you received any kind of hand-written note in the mail. Didn’t it make you feel good – that someone took the time and consideration to sit down, pen some thoughts, and pop it in the mail?

7 Ways Thank You Notes Can Help You Land The Job:

1. They allow you to thank interviewers once again for their time.

2. They keep you top-of-mind as a good-fit candidate.

3. They allow you to mention highlights of the interview conversation and reiterate your interest in the position and the company.

4. They provide an opportunity to once more reinforce your personal brand and value proposition for that company.

5. They provide an opportunity to bring up information you poorly addressed or forgot in the interview.

6. They provide an opportunity to ask about the next step in the interview process.

7. They can be the make-or-break deciding factor in you landing at that company sometime in the future.

Tips to make the best impression with your thank you notes:

 Get the full name, correct spelling, and title of each interviewer. Collecting everyone’s business cards is a great way to do this.

 Take a little time right after the interview to jot down the following:

  • Critical questions they asked.
  • Your answers that had a positive impact, captured their attention, and/or represented important skills to meet the company’s current challenges.
  • The concerns about you they voiced.
  • Items you forgot to mention in the interview.

Also:

  • Remember to personalize the content in each note. Don’t copy exactly the same information in every one. These people may share the notes you sent them.
  • DON’T write the note before the interview and hand it to the employer at the end of the interview.
  • Remember to sign the letter.
  • Because the distribution of mail at some workplaces is slow, it may be best to immediately send an email thank you, followed by a hand-written one. The second thank you they receive is another gentle way to stay top-of-mind with potential employers.

Beyond the interview process, remember to send thank you’s to people in your network who helped you. Acknowledging your appreciation can make all the difference in keeping you and your personal brand top-of-mind with them for opportunities they hear about that may be a good fit for you.

This article was originally posted on Work Coach Cafe.

More About Executive Job Search and Job Interviews

How to Brand Your Executive Job Interviews and Land the Gig

Executive Interview: What Questions Do YOU Ask?

Power Pose to Ace Executive Job Interviews

10 Executive Job Interview Body Language Mistakes

What’s Your Executive Career Brand Story?

How to Build Personal Brand Content for Executive Job Search

Best Ways and Places to Research Your Target Employers

graphic on Pixabay

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Deadly LinkedIn Mistake: No Professional Photo

by Meg Guiseppi on July 13, 2015

 

When I first viewed the LinkedIn profile of a recent client (a CFO job seeker), I knew something was fishy.

A dashing 30-something man was smiling at me with perfect teeth, perfect hair, and a perfectly chiseled face. Based on his career history, I knew my client had to be around 50. He obviously used a stock photo.

No_person

Sure enough, he told me he and some colleagues thought it would be fun to put up this misleading photo.

What he didn’t realize was that when I Googled his name – which executive recruiters and employers were sure to do as well – real photos of him came up in various places. He didn’t look anything like his LinkedIn profile photo.

Think about how this discrepancy would impact his credibility and reputation. People could think all kinds of things about him, including questioning whether his was a legitimate profile.

His blunder could be a worse one than having no photo at all which is, in my opinion, a deadly mistake.

Why You Need a Photo on Your LinkedIn Profile

Although some LinkedIn members fear discrimination based on age, appearance, ethnic background, etc. if they include their photos, I still advise that it’s best to have one. There’s no doubt that discrimination exists in job search, so you’ll need to decide for yourself, but there are risks involved with NOT having a photo.

Most executive recruiters and hiring decision makers at the companies you’re targeting will see your LinkedIn profile before they see anything else about you. Put yourself in the shoes of these people assessing your candidacy through your LinkedIn profile.

The first thing they’ll notice when they land on your profile is your photo . . . or lack of one. If you have NO photo, their initial thought will likely be “What is this person trying to hide?”

Personal Branding Matters

Personal branding is an essential piece in developing the content for your LinkedIn profile. Branding helps you differentiate the qualifications and qualities you possess from your competitors’.

Branding also helps you make an emotional connection. People connect easier and believe content more when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo. They’re more likely to reach out to someone when they can “see” the person. Your photo helps to personalize and humanize your brand-driven content.

Another issue associated with not having a photo − your profile may be flagged as a fake, especially if there’s very little content within the profile.

And lack of a photo keeps your profile from being 100% complete, according to LinkedIn’s criteria. Complete profiles land higher in LinkedIn search results than incomplete ones, making you more visible and “findable” online.

Choose your LinkedIn photo wisely. It follows you everywhere on the site, with any of your activities, not just when people click through to your profile.

Select an appealing photo that strikes the right image and professional tone for your industry, niche, and personality. Executives typically wear suits, but if your leadership style is relaxed, then a more casual, but still professional, look may be right for you.

Bad Photo Choices That Can Hurt Your Chances

  • An obvious selfie taken in front of the bathroom mirror. (Any selfie is probably not a good idea.)
  • A group photo of you and colleagues. Which one is you?
  • A photo with you and your darling child or children.
  • A party photo of you.
  • No actual photo – just a logo or goofy drawing.
  • A photo of you holding a beer, at a barbecue.
  • A photo of you inappropriately or partially dressed.
  • A photo of scenery, but no you.
  • A photo of someone other than you – like my client noted above.

Go to a professional or have a friend take a headshot of you smiling, both showing teeth and closed-mouthed – inside and outside. Try wearing different clothes.

Then sit down with all the possibilities and a few friends and/or colleagues. Try to reach a consensus on which one evokes the real you, consistent with the brand message you want to get across.

More About LinkedIn and Executive Job Search

Personal Branding and Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

Deadly LinkedIn Mistake: Neglecting SEO and Keywords

Deadly LinkedIn Mistake: Generic, Short Summary Section

Deadly LinkedIn Mistake: Anemic, Incomplete Profile

Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

graphic on wikimedia

 

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