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Losing a job with a thank you email

Dan had the perfect first interview.  I debriefed the hiring manager.  Dan was a sharp leader with experience and corporate savvy. The pay would be $175,000 per year. Dan drafted a thank you email and sent it off to the hiring manager.

The next afternoon I called the hiring manager to set up an interview.  It was not going to happen.  Instead of the short “thank you” I recommended, Dan sent a two page email.  Not a problem, usually.  Then the email was forwarded to me.  Dan had sent a killer email.

There were two problems:

1.  Dan wrote about the wrong things

2.  The grammar, spelling and layout were terrible

The wrong things

A thank you email is not a good place to bring up your rotten ex-boss, the other reasons you quit that job and that you are tired of working long hours.  You don’t set salary, vacation and relocation demands in a thank you email either.  You just say, “Thank you.”

Grammar, spelling and layout

Dan was in the running for a job as leader, manager, communicator and chief computer guru for a multi-national company.  He would be giving direction and building coalitions.  His technical expertise was essential.  But, Dan didn’t use the computer to check his spelling or grammar.  It was bad.  Just plain bad.  He also wandered from subject to subject in the middle of paragraphs and sentences.   The email did not hang together.

Make it very short, or get it proofread

A short thank you is best.

If you are writing more than 3 sentences, wait an hour and re-read it before you send it.  The idea of informal and off-the-cuff email is sweet, but wrong.  You will be judged by what you send.  If your email is over 3 lines, at least proofread it yourself.  Better yet, have someone else who is a good writer look it over and make suggestions.  And please learn how to use a spelling and grammar checker.

Make sure your thank you gets you closer to the job, not shut out.

Something to do today

Go to your email outbox.  How many of those should have been more formal?

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Later:                         Boys on a 50 mile hike

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