Resumes, Letters & Interviews

After the Interview

Saying "thank you"

Interviews are not over when they're over: Follow up.

Following an interview, promptly (within 2 business days) write the interviewer a letter expressing appreciation and thanks for the interview.

 The purpose of this letter is to: 

  • Show appreciation for the employer's interest in you.
  • Reiterate your interest in the position and in the organization.
  • Review or remind the employer about your qualifications for the position. If you thought of something you forgot to mention in the interview, mention it in your follow-up / thank-you letter.
  • Demonstrate that you have good manners and know to write a thank-you letter.
  • Follow up with any information the employer may have asked you to provide after the interview.

Hard copy, handwritten or email?

Thank-you letters can be hard copy typed, handwritten or e-mailed. Hard copies are most formal and are appropriate after an interview. Handwritten are more personal, and can be appropriate for brief notes to a variety of individuals you may have met during on on-site interview. E-mail is appropriate when that has been your means of contact with the person you want to thank, or if your contact has expressed a preference for e-mail. (Also see guidelines for using e-mail in your job search and e-mail business etiquette.)

What to do if you don't hear from the employer

  • Before your interview ended, your interviewer should have informed you of the organization's follow-up procedures - from whom, by what means, and when you would hear again from the organization. If the interviewer did not tell you, and you did not ask, use your follow-up / thank-you letter to ask.
  • If more than a week has passed beyond the date when you were told you would hear something from the employer, call or email to politely inquire about the status of the organization's decision-making process. Someone (or something) or an unexpected circumstance may be holding up the process. A polite inquiry shows that you are still interested in the organization and may prompt the employer to get on schedule with a response. In your inquiry, mention the following: name of the person who interviewed you, time and place of the interview, position for which you are applying (if known), and ask the status of your application.

Offer evaluation and negotiation

Here's a secret: Employers rarely make their best offer first, and those who negotiate generally earn much more than those who don't. And a well-thought-out negotiation makes you look like a stronger candidate -- and employee.

"We found that those people who attempted to negotiate their salary in a constructive way are perceived as more favorable than those who didn't negotiate at all, because they were demonstrating the skills the company wanted to hire them for," says Robin Pinkley, coauthor of Get Paid What You're Worth and an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business.

Once you receive a job offer, you are faced with a difficult decision and must evaluate the offer carefully. Fortunately, most organizations will not expect you to accept or reject an offer immediately.

There are many issues to consider when assessing a job offer. Will the organization be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits? If you have not already figured out exactly what you want, the US Department of Labor may help you to develop a set of criteria for judging job offers.

You  too can start laying the groundwork for your salary negotiation even before the first interview. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Step-by-Step Guide to Negotiating a Great Salary
by Kim Lankford
Monster Contributing Writer

Money Matters, learn about salary negotiation, insurance, and more.

This article from Quint Careers can be helpful when you feel your job offer is too low.

Accept/reject the offer

Job acceptance letter

Even if you have accepted a job over the phone, it's a good idea to write a job acceptance letter to confirm the details of employment and to formally accept the job offer.

Your letter can be brief, but, should include the following:

  • Thanks and appreciation for the opportunity
  • Written acceptance of the job offer
  • The terms and conditions of employment (salary, benefits)
  • Starting date of employment

Address the letter to the person who offered you the position. Include your contact information and phone number, even though it is on file with the employer.

Make sure that your letter is well written and does not contain typos or grammatical errors. Even though you already have been offered the job, you want to make sure all your correspondence is professional.

Job rejection letter

When you have decided to decline a job offer, you may want to let the employer know in writing that you are declining the offer. Your letter should be polite, brief, and to the point. You don't want to burn bridges and this employer may have a better offer for you down the road. So, don't get into any specifics. Even if the hours are awful, the work environment is terrible or the pay isn't enough to make ends meet, don't mention it.

You should include the following:

  • Thanks and appreciation for the offer
  • Written rejection of the job offer
  • Address the letter to the person who offered you the position. Include your contact information and phone number, even though it is on file with the employer.

Make sure that your letter is well written and does not contain typos or grammatical errors.

Workplace etiquette

Now that you have landed a job...how do you succeed at work?

"Tips for Workplace Etiquette" from Forbes.com

Dressing for work

Relaxed workplace attire is becoming the norm. At many companies "casual Friday" has expanded to the rest of the week. Each company, season, industry, and geographic region will call for different fashion decisions; how you dress at the job may have very little to do with how you dress for an interview. After being offered a position, it's a good idea to simply ask your supervisor about the dress code when you're unsure of those expectations. Additionally, you can research how employees dress by reviewing their website or taking note of how folks were dressed during your interview.

Working with your supervisor

Meet early on to get an understanding for each other. A few standard questions will go a long way. New hires can ask their supervisor: What method of communication do you prefer; e-mail, face-to-face or phone conversations? What's your work schedule, and what are your expectations of mine? Would you prefer me to ask questions as they come up, or should we set aside a time each week to talk about them? Do you want me to check in with you daily to update you on the progress I'm making in my work?

Communicate your progress

Your supervisor might allow you much more time than necessary to complete a project until they know how long it takes you to get tasks done. Don't just sit around if you finish something. Instead, tell your boss that you're ready for additional projects. You might say, "Please let me know what else I can help you with."

Using technology in the workplace

  • Learn your company's policy regarding the use of electronic devices in the workplace; if these policies are not shared, look on the company's web site. If not available, request the information from your manager or the human resources department.
  • Understand that your company has the right to monitor your use of e-mail and may terminate you if you do not adhere to its policies.
  • Beware of a false sense of security before sending an e-mail. Ask yourself if you would mind if your message was sent to the world. Remember you have no control where your message goes after you click send.
  • Certain web sites can be off-limits; understand what these are. If you accidently log onto one of them immediately report it to your information security officer or IT department.
  • Downloading of some programs can be prohibited (RealPlayer, freeware, shareware, games, and so on); find out what these are.
  • It is often against company policy to use office technology for commercial or personal use. Set up a separate e-mail address for these purposes.
  • If policies prohibit the personal use of the Internet during work hours, limit your use to breaks, lunch hours, or from your own home.
  • If company guidelines permit a "reasonable use" for personal reasons, let your friends and family know of this restriction and ask them to respect this privilege.

Cell phone use

Use may be restricted to breaks. Know your company's policies. Select a ringtone that is appropriate for your work environment. When talking on a cell phone, speak in a professional tone of voice.

Social media guidelines

Be aware of the risks of social media at work including: misinterpreted posts, a high level of distraction, oversharing of personal information, company misrepresentation, replacement of face-to-face communication, and sharing of sensitive or illicit content.

From “10 Social Media Guidelines for Generation Z Employees” by Ryan Jenkins

  • Be respectful. Intent matters; have the right intent and treat others as you want to be treated.
  • Know and follow your company's social media guidelines. Neglecting the guidelines can get you fired, sued, or both. Also, consider the company's code of ethics.
  • Proofread before posting. Correct poor grammar, unnecessary slang, or misspelled words.
  • Use a disclaimer (if your name is closely associated with your employer). Make it clear when you are posting your personal opinions.
  • Check privacy settings. Decide what accounts might need to be private or set up a separate business or personal account.
  • Don't complain about work over social media (no matter how private the account). Consider discussing your work challenges with friends or colleagues face-to-face.
  • Don't share confidential company info. Keep information such as budget, future plans, rumors in the office, etc. confidential. Also, be aware that sensitive info does not sneak into the backdrop of a photo.
  • Don't fight with customers on social media. Handle complaints and criticism calmly and respond with the type of positive, empathetic words that you would like to receive if you had an issue.
  • Don't post illicit content or anything that could damage you professionally.
  • Don't spend more time on social media than is necessary for productive work.