When You Care Enough

The latest batch of college grads may be Web 2.0-savvier than anyone in the working world’s ever seen, but when it comes to post-job-interview etiquette, many of them blithely stick their keyboards right in their mouths: They send thank-you e-mails dotted with hearts, emoticons and LOL abbreviations, and SNS requests for friendship status to the people they hope to call “boss.”

An employer’s headache is a career coach’s niche market, and many are adding rules for e-mail and sns to their offerings. “IM’ing, Facebook-friending, MySpacing is not appropriate,” says Melanie Szlucha, president of coaching firm Red Inc. “Recruiters talk to so many people, many of whom they don’t want to see again. It’s a little too stalker-esque.” Even a LinkedIn request is too familiar, some warn.

“I’ve been doing career-transition coaching for more than 25 years, and fully endorse using e-mail as an appropriate and fast way to do follow-up,” says Judy Estrin, president of Partners In Enterprise, with offices in Silicon Valley and British Columbia. “A thank-you note written as business correspondence — no all-caps, no IM-speak — can make or break an applicant’s job offer.”

Gary Slavin, a Florida-based career coach with 30 years in the business, teaches a tech segment in his business seminar. He tells applicants an e-mail thank-you note is fine, but word it wisely. “The tone should reflect the interviewee’s perception of any rapport that was created during the interview,” he says. “It is doubtful that a good enough rapport was created to enable the interviewee to use IM-speak.”

Still, even some new-media execs appreciate a stamped envelope now and then. “I have been an Internet executive for 11 years, so I’m hardly a stodgy traditionalist,” says Mark Moran, ceo of, which sorts and recommends Web content. Moran, who says he’s interviewed hundreds of applicants, was the tie-breaking vote in one hiring decision: The candidate who’d sent a handwritten note got the job.
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