Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference and this is never truer than in your job search. [TWEET]

You’d be surprised at how many candidates omit ‘common’ courtesies throughout the process, even knowing that making a great first impression is crucial. Remember, just as you are interviewing the company to make sure they are a good fit culturally for you, they are also hiring YOU the person – not just the skills on your resume. And most (there are probably exceptions but I’ve never encountered any) companies would prefer a professional and polite candidate over a rude or unprofessional one.

Sadly, common courtesy, like common sense are not all that common.  The good news for you is that it is possible to shine like a diamond in a coalmine by practicing niceties and remembering your manners during the interviewing process. Now, possibly you don’t need this advice, as you are probably a nice and courteous person the majority of the time, but interviews can be a bit nerve-wracking, so it’s good to assume you are ‘on’ the second you exit your car the day of the interview. One company I worked with had the owner’s wife work the reception desk and believe me, they took note of how candidates treated her!

In addition to being genuinely pleasant to all you encounter, thank you notes are a much neglected courtesy. A brief card or email to each person who interviewed you is appropriate, sent the day after the interview. Make sure you know the correct spelling of the name and if you send the note to more than one person, individualize each one. The purpose of the thank you card is simply to thank the interviewer for their time and state your interest in the position and of those two items, the thanking is the more important. A full court press at this stage will dilute the effectiveness of the thank you.  

Emailed thank you notes are perfectly acceptable but handwritten ones on a simple, elegant note card are rare enough to really make you stand apart from the crowd. One word of caution, however, if you do opt for a handwritten thank you make sure your writing is legible (and no, this doesn’t go without saying).

It’s all about making a positive impression and showing yourself as the best investment and social intelligence is a very important part of this. So good luck, and happy job searching!