Friends, let me tell you a story about the power of a thank you note.
Around the time Ringling Brothers closed, my resume floated to the top when Cirque was kindly trying to help rehome a lot of unemployed circus workers.
I was not currently an employee at Ringling, but somehow my resume got flagged and I got invited to interview.
I didn’t know why, but of course I took the interview. Working for Cirque is literally the last of two things on my stage management bucket list. I’d been trying to get an interview there for years.
Fun side story: I did one have an interview to work at Cirque in 2014. A friend who was working there got my resume in front of someone who actually reads them, as opposed to the computer system which I’m convinced no one ever sees. We had an interview time for about 15 minutes after my shift ended as a production manager, on a team of three production managers. There was almost no reason I would not be able to make that meeting.
Until the fire alarms went off and the theatre was actually on fire and we had to evacuate it approximately 10 minutes before the end of my shift. And we had to make sure everyone was accounted for once we were out on the street.
So. I missed the call. Just entirely missed it because… emergency. I was not allowed to reschedule. I’m pretty sure the woman was convinced I was lying.
Personally, I felt like it showed good priorities, even when I really wanted to be doing something else. C’est la vie.
So I hop on the phone for the interview and the woman interviewing me starts with telling me how sad she to hear was Ringling was closing and I was like… yes? But we both know I don’t currently work there, right?
And we did not. It was an administrative accident I got the interview. I immediately told her I did not currently work there and that I was also all about Cirque rehoming the Ringling people because many of them were my friends and suggested we not even do the interview at that time.
She went back and forth for a few seconds and was like, whatever, you’re on the line. Let’s just do it.
So it was a totally average interview and I expressed a lot of gratitude for her taking the time (but did emphasize I totally understood the priority was the current Ringling folks).
After, I sent her a thank you note.
A physical thank you note.
How does one do this to a massive corporation? Well… I wasn’t sure either but I took an educated guess. I had the name of the woman who did the interview and I knew she worked at the corporate office.
So I mailed it there. c/o of my Interviewer.
I repeated my thanks for taking the time to interview me and asked her to keep me in mind further down the line if they had any stage management needs then.
About a month later (it did apparently take a while for this card to wind its way through to her in the office), I got an email thanking me for the thank you note and saying that she would!
Which I still figured was a pipe dream, but promptly two and a half months later, during my first week at work at Big Apple Circus, I got a call out of the blue to join the stage management team on Kooza. I would’ve left BAC in a total lurch if I’d taken it.
I still very much wonder about how that life path might’ve gone. But overall I think I made the right choice, especially since I was able to be home more than previous years while my mom was sick.
But I’m pretty convinced that thank you note made me more memorable, which is a key thing when you’re applying for jobs where pretty much everyone being interviewed is likely very qualified.
But what do you write in this thing? Well, here is a template:
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me the other day!
Compliment company or production and remind them you are still interested in the job. (ex. I have wanted to work with Cirque since seeing one of the free school shows in Quebec City in 2010 – the level of artistry and spectacle I saw that day and in every production since has been truly breath-taking and I would still love to be a part of the team.)
Reference something specific from your interview. (ex. I hope you had a lot of great interviews with the current Ringling employees, it was a great job. I definitely worked with a lot of dynamite folks while I was there.)
I hope we have a chance to work together in the future!
I think direct and to the point is best – don’t waste their time with essentially another cover letter or resume. They clearly have those things. They already interviewed you.
Just a quick thank you, a little flattery, and a reminder of who you are (depending on the interview, it may be hard to find something to reference. However, if you both chatted about being fans of the same show or sports team or TV show or something during the interview, make a little note of it and reference it – briefly – there).
If you know the job is being filled quickly, it can be worth it to skip the physical thank you note in favor of a quick thank you email.
If you sent a thank you email and haven’t heard the job is filled a few days later, a handwritten note is another way you can do a follow up.
Have you ever sent a handwritten thank you note as a follow up before? Did you get the job?
Mel @ brokeGIRLrich