A random survey of Chicago-area public relations professionals today confirmed that handwritten thank you notes are alive and still the best way to follow up a job interview.
Since the early days of my blog, I have preached the importance of handwritten thank you notes. CBS This Morning also just confirmed their relevance, citing a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll showing 82% of Americans feel handwritten notes are “an important habit for a young person to cultivate,” while only 14% felt such notes are “outdated and unnecessary”. So, I dropped by my agency alma mater this morning to do a random survey of interns and young professionals who are working in public relations. Of the dozen young pros interviewed, all followed up interviews via email within a few hours and sent handwritten notes within 24 hours.
In addition to her email follow up, intern Callie Kaminski picked up on Ketchum’s “Break Through” branding tagline by sending a piggy bank and hammer to drive home her desire for the firm to “make a breakthrough investment in me.” Consensus among hiring managers say you don’t have to break the bank with your post interview thank yous, but it’s obvious when you don’t follow the “two note protocol”–email and handwritten. Callie and fellow intern Sarah Grage said social media also offers a third potential outlet for saying thanks, especially to agency pros who are active on Twitter. But don’t forget the personal note.
“I’d never hire anyone who doesn’t send me a handwritten note,” said Ketchum’s business development VP Kelly Sauter. “I am the queen of thank you notes. I’ll never forget my mom saying ‘if you don’t write a thank you note you don’t get a gift next year.'”
Since a decision was expected to be made quickly on the hiring of an intern, Maureen Ray recently sat in the agency’s reception area following her interviews and wrote thank you notes and handed them to the receptionist, who still recalls that moment.
While on the subject of handwritten notes, also consider adopting intern Myreete Wolford’s habit of sending a personal note a month to someone who has affected her career, “whether they know it or not.” I got one of those notes and will never forget it.