The Power of Thank You: How to Use Gratitude in Your Job Search

If there was a transcript of the words I frequently use in my exchanges with other people, thank you would be at the top of the page. Closely followed by appreciate and grateful, thank you is such a prominent part of my vocabulary because it so often reflects how I feel. In both my life and career, I know that no one is obligated to give me anything, including a job opportunity. So, it is natural for me to thank people who willingly share their time, resources, or kind acts with me.

Although it may not seem like it, gratitude plays a key role in the job search. Practicing gratitude not only helps to advance your job search but your outlook as well. Surely, you’ve heard how important it is to thank a hiring manager following an interview. However, many people will not tell you how to go about this. Here are 4 tips for harnessing the power of thank you and using it in your job search.    

1. Write it Down.

You know how some people love planners? Well, I love stationery. Perhaps it is the lost art of a handwritten note or all the pretty patterns that ‘thank you’ notes come in at Target. Whatever the case, I love a good handwritten note and know that many employers do, too. In a world where we text and email often, candidates who still take time to give thanks in their own writing help to set themselves apart from the competition.

2. Personalize it.

Ask anyone I’ve had the pleasure of coaching and they will tell you – ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ doesn’t cut it. Even though the person you are thanking is the hiring manager, they have a name. Finding the name of the person may require a bit more work, but if you truly want the job, get into the habit now of putting forth extra work. Spell the name correctly, use an appropriate prefix, and thank the person directly.

3. Think About the Time, Not About the Job.

Is writing a thank you note after a job interview about helping you get the job? Yes. But, it is also about developing an appreciation for time. Time is a resource that we don’t get back, so be sure to express thanks to the hiring manager for making time to learn more about you in the interview process. Also, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for making time to prepare, show up on time, and follow through with an interview.  

4. Understand the Door of Opportunity.

If you have ever interviewed for your “dream job” only to be told later that the employer has chosen someone else? You are not alone. I cannot tell you how many people come to me for advice after not getting their dream job. Although I try to help them see where they may have gone wrong, I also make it a point to help them see where they went right. Sometimes we wish for our ideal job so much and are crushed when we don’t get it. Instead of thinking of all the reasons why you weren’t good enough, smart enough, or qualified enough, think about the door of opportunity. There is an old adage that says, ‘if it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.’ Although it may be difficult, practice feeling grateful for the job opportunities you do get and the ones you don’t get. Ultimately, not getting that job, internship, or promotion may have been in your best interest, even if you don’t know it yet.