Following up a job interview with an e-mail is fine

DEAR KATE & DALE: What is your feeling on an e-mail follow-up note versus hard copy? I just had an interview with a “fast” sort of person, and he mentioned that he is interviewing all the candidates today, will further think about it over the weekend and will call back the top two or three early next week. My gut tells me that an e-mail would work well in this situation, and so I sent one, but for the future, what do you think?

– Susan

KATE: An e-mail sounds just fine. _E-mail as an initial contact is less effective than a letter, but as follow-up with someone you have met, e-mail works. In the future, if you’re sending more than a thank-you – for instance, a “proposal” on how you’d contribute to the company – you might want to send it via e-mail and say you are also sending a hard copy.

DALE: Yes, e-mail is fine. No one is going to think less of you. But neither is anyone going to think more of you. E-mail is fast and easy, and that’s what’s wrong with it. So you send an e-mail thank you. Big deal. OK, you didn’t have much time. Neither did anyone else. However, what if you’d put together some thoughts from other proposals and a thank-you note and delivered them to the office? Now that’s impressively “fast.” Why? Because it wasn’t easy. And while an e-mail vanishes into cyberspace, the papers you sent sit there, on the person’s desk, shouting, “Hey, I made the extra effort.”

DEAR KATE & DALE: I am a 16-year-old teenager, and I want to make some money, but I don’t want to work in a fast-food place. I want to do something I’d enjoy and get paid for it. What stuff can I do?

DALE: One of the great things about our economy is that it produces an amazing array of products and services and the jobs that go with them. Which one is for you? You might already know in your heart your calling, but most people don’t. So it might take some trial and error to find your place in the working world, but it’s terrific that you already are asking more of a job than money.

KATE: Last year, my teenage son, Martin, decided he was tired of working in a fast-food place and decided he wanted to work in a music store. I convinced him to apply at several places, but there was one job he really wanted. He didn’t do so well on his first interview. That’s OK. Follow-up is everything. He called every week for nearly two months and stopped by the store twice. I urged him to do what I urge my clients to do: to use every contact as more than a mere “checking up” – to use each one as an opportunity to sell. In Martin’s case, I suggested he say something like, “I wanted to remind you that I am extremely interested in the position and wanted you to know that I am dependable and hard-working.” Eventually he got the job.

DALE: So all you need, Jeremy, is a job you want that badly. Here’s one way to start exploring the economy. Say you enjoy golf and so figure you’d love to work at a golf course. You and millions of others. So, instead of simply applying at the obvious places, go deeper into the possibilities. I just opened the Yellow Pages to “Golf” and found not only the expected long list of golf courses, but also golf-equipment wholesalers, golf academies, course-maintenance companies, golf-cart sales, course construction and golf-course architects. Instead of picking up trash on a golf course, you could be working for someone who designed the course. And, get this – the job with the designer might actually be easier to get, because only one person in a hundred looks past the obvious jobs and seeks out the jobs behind the jobs.