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This Uncommon Courtesy Will Set You Apart From 98% Of All Job Seekers

Let’s talk about common courtesy for a moment. Or, rather, what has become uncommon courtesy.

When I worked for a Fortune 500 company, I interviewed about one hundred people per month. How many written thank yous do you think I got in the average month (this was well before the internet)?


I look at employment as a game. If you know the rules and play by them, I give you points. If you don’t know the rules, I don’t give you points. If you know the rules, but don’t play by them,I take points away.

So, I would award points to these two people who clearly knew the rules and played by them. But guess what? Old cynical, skeptical Bud, who awards points and takes points away, got warm fuzzies from those two thank yous!

Everyone in America knows you should send a written thank you after an interview or a referral meeting. But,no, you’re all still in rebellion against mom, for making you write them after your birthday! So, even though you know you should write, you don’t.

By continuing to get revenge on your mother you are missing out on creating a huge advantage for yourself!

Here is Bud’s Rule for sending a thank you: Anyone who will see you gets a written thank you within 72 hours of your meeting. 

If they throw you bodily out of their office, thank them for not hurting you too badly! This is all about relationships!

When I did my last job search, I was referred to a nice lady named Judy. We met, and she referred me to the one guy in the company who could hire me.

The next morning I sat down and wrote her a card. “Dear Judy,” I wrote, Thanks for the time you spent with me yesterday. I particularly enjoyed our discussion of hiring trends.” New paragraph: “I’ve called Rick Smith (not his real name) and scheduled a meeting with him for 2:00 next Wednesday. I’ll let you know how it turns out.” New paragraph: Thanks again for your time. I’ll keep you apprised of how the search is going. Sincerely, Bud”

Judy was going to refer me to someone else, but first she had to track that person down. As it happened, I got a job before I heard back from her, so I called to tell her the good news.But before I could say a word, she said, “I got the card you sent me. Thank you so much! It was wonderful!”

And I learned.

Before I get into just how brilliant this card was, let me tell you it was strictly dumb luck. The card I sent was the only one I had—a scene of geese landing in a corn field; full of earth tones, browns, tans, et cetera. Well, Judy’s office was full of dark wood and brass. The card complemented her office environment perfectly.

Let’s talk about what I wrote.

In the first paragraph, I thanked her for seeing me. Right, it is a thank you card, you know. I also referred to our conversation about hiring trends. That is a subject dear to the hearts of people like us. In referring to it, I was recalling the warm fuzzies we experienced in the conversation.

In the second paragraph, I said that I had called Rick. This is saying to her, “I’ve done what you told me to do.” This is much better than saying, “I’m going to do what you told me to do.” I also said we’d scheduled a meeting, gave her the time and day of the week, and said I’d let her know how it turned out.Human nature dictates that she would want to hear from Rick first as to how it turned out. With that sentence, I roped her into the process. She was now my sponsor!

In the third paragraph, I thanked her again and told her I’d stay in touch. This was in response to her request that I do so. You bet I’m going to stay in touch. She is a very valuable connection!

I wish I could claim credit for all this brilliance, but I didn’t figure all this out until after the fact. The card was one I liked; it was the only one I had! Plus, I’m an introvert. I have a terrible time writing to people! I never know what to say. All I can say is that God wrote that card for me! I wasn’t smart enough to do it!

You should be taking away two things from this post. One is that anyone who will see you gets a written thank you. The other is, the picture on the card needs to match the culture of the other person. It isn’t about you; it’s all about them! Again, this is all about developing relationships.

There are other things to be said about sending thank you cards. We’ll address them here: Read Now