The follow-up letter is a critical part of the interview process for nearly every job in any field. But it’s perhaps doubly important for marketing applicants of any kind, from entry-level junior roles to veteran marketing executive positions. For marketers, a perfectly crafted follow-up can be almost as impactful as their interview performance itself.
The Importance of the Interview Follow Up to Marketers
A follow-up thank you letter is, first and foremost, common courtesy. Someone has taken time out of their busy day to consider you for a job in their company–a basic show of gratitude is simply the right thing to do.
But beyond just being a token of appreciation, the follow up allows you one last opportunity to showcase your marketing skills, personality, professional acumen and qualification for the job. Whether you’ve been engaged by a marketing recruitment firm, are being considered for a freelance opportunity, or even vying for a CMO position, here’s what you stand to gain from the post-interview “Thank You” letter.
Highlighting a Key Trait
What’s the single most important qualification you have for this job that you want your interviewers to remember about you? Are you a passionate leader? An unparalleled subject matter expert? A strategic, data-driven thinker? Whatever it is, your follow up could be your best chance to leave it top-of-mind when it’s time for your interviewers to make a final recommendation or decision.
Showing Attention to Detail
In the eyes of almost any hiring manager or marketing recruiter, a failure to submit a good follow up letter is a crucial oversight. It indicates that you’re absentminded, that you don’t take care to see a job through. In a discipline where details and meticulous execution can make all the difference, marketers can not afford to come across as careless.
Displaying Creativity and Communication Skills
The ability to coherently write a professional, engaging, meaningful letter is rarer than you might think. A well-organized thank you note crafted with the right tone and content can certainly help you stand out among other candidates who put less thought into their follow up or aren’t as strong of writers.
The follow up is also one more opportunity to put your creativity on display. Even if you’re not applying for a creative or communications job, an innovative subject line, signature or remark makes you more memorable. But take care not to go overboard; most hiring managers will be more annoyed than impressed by extremely unconventional follow-ups. Leave the unorthodox displays of creativity to your social media accounts, portfolios, and web properties.
Providing Supporting Material and Information
The follow up is usually the best time to provide supporting documents and materials that came up during the interview. For instance, if you mention a successful ad campaign you worked on during an interview, you can include files or links containing a results report, creative assets, strategic documents, etc. The follow up letter is the perfect opportunity to send any references that were requested as well.
The Recipe for Follow Up Success
There’s no “perfect follow up” template; each should be approached with a unique strategy depending on the job, the company, the interviewer and how the interview itself went. However, there are a few things every marketer should take into account when crafting any post-interview Thank You message.
- Show your gratitude. Remember, this is first and foremost a Thank You letter. Share your genuine thanks for your interviewer’s time, interest, conversation and information.
- Make it personal. Don’t use a generic Thank You letter for your follow up. Customize it with anecdotes from the interview and references to specific questions and answers you discussed. This shows you were very attentive during the interview and are taking the opportunity seriously.
- Be timely. Don’t take your time when it comes to follow up. Do it when your interview is still fresh in your mind so you can make accurate references. It’s entirely appropriate to send in a Thank You email the same day as the interview. Don’t wait longer than the next day to follow up.
- Bring up your key trait. Find a way to organically mention your key skill or experience in the context of the letter and your interview.
- Keep it short. Avoid the temptation to recall every memorable detail of your interview or carry on about your personal qualifications. You’ve already submitted a resume and interviewed; that should be enough. Reserve your follow up for just one or two highlights and your thanks.
- Follow up with all interviewers. Make a point to get the contact information of each person who interviews you and follow up with each, using a customized message every time.
- Include supplementary content. Don’t forget to send any additional information that was discussed or requested by your interviewer; references, portfolio selections, past work and written recommendations.