For those of you who attended the MOAA networking and hiring event at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 30 or the West Point Society's career fair in Arlington, Virginia on June 14, congratulations! You connected with one or more of the 95 veteran and military spouse-friendly employers that supported these recent career building events.
Now comes the hard part: Follow-up! Consider these fine points as you continue your self-marketing campaign after making an initial connection with a potential employer.
- Always follow-up with a snail-mail or e-mail thank you note. In most cases, an e-mail follow-up note is the most efficient way to accelerate your relationship with the HR team. In addition to jogging a hiring manager's memory, it's good business etiquette to follow-up and say thanks to the people you meet in an organization during the interview process. Moreover, well written and personalized thank you notes are also an opportunity for job candidates to reiterate their best qualities or to more thoroughly explain how your skills, experiences, education and passion make you a good fit for a particular position. Thank-you notes are also an opportunity to demonstrate superior listening skills by elaborating on a topic discussed during the interview.
- You may also want to attach an updated copy of your resume that is tailored to the specific requirements of the position. In addition to the qualifications emphasized by the recruiter, look for current employees of the target company on LinkedIn who are working in similar roles and borrow key words and phrasing to ensure your resume captures some of the subtleties of the company culture.
- Next, use the company search functionality on LinkedIn to identify connections in your network who are currently employed by your target company. These connections can build internal support for your candidacy and are essential to break you out from a herd of qualified applicants. Don't hesitate to reach out and make your connections aware of your interest in joining their team. Offer to send them a copy of your resume and remind them you would appreciate any support they can lend to your candidacy.
Think of the thank-you note as a closing paragraph to the interview discussion, and use it to highlight your best qualities, express gratitude for the opportunity to be considered, and add an exclamation point to your interest in the position.