It seems to me that the people who do a good job of finding themselves jobs are usually good workers to begin with. That is, the same skills they use to become gainfully employed are the ones that also help them once they land a new position. In a book called How to Say It in Your Job Search: Choice Words, Phrases, Sentences and Paragraphs for Resume, Cover Letters, and Interviews (Prentice Hall), author Robbie Kaplan lays out a succinct plan for finding a job by being a superb communicator. She knows the value of choosing just the right word for a cover letter or a particular entry on a resume. She writes, "Your job search success hinges not only on initial contact with employers, but also on written and verbal communications that link you to employers from the initial application through the all-important job offer."
One of my favorite chapters is on a topic that often gets overlooked or at the very least is minimized in the day-to-day work world. "Writing Gracious Thank-You Letters" gives readers a real primer on one of the most basic tools for getting by-the ability and willingness to thank others for the work they´ve done on your behalf. Not surprisingly, this often comes down to having good manners. Most people have grown up with a modicum of training when it comes to manners. According to the author, "Good manners dictate that we thank others for their help and support." Whether you´re looking for a job or staying put it´s really critical that you know how to express your appreciation-to bosses, colleagues, customers, and the guy at the hot dog stand who gets it when you say you´re on a deadline. The point is: no one should be out of your circle of appreciation if a thank-you is in order.
One of Kaplan´s first and very important tip is to open your letter with an introductory sentence that tells the person you´re writing that you, in fact, appreciate something he or she has done. Too often, we neglect to state the obvious. Why? Because we think we look stupid stating the obvious. But who doesn´t like getting a little recognition here and there? You´d be amazed at what can arise out of the obvious-sometimes a new project, a new solution to an old problem, sometimes even a new job.
One of the more interesting tips that Kaplan offers is "Don´t apologize; it will only draw attention that the letter is late." Clearly, she´s talking about this in the context of thanking someone for the time he or she took to interview a job candidate, but all too often in our daily jobs we apologize for things that are best left forgotten or at the very least put into perspective against the backdrop of what can be done . . . now. Before you document an apology make sure that it´s balanced and that instead of an apology the reader will be inclined to move on to the future rather than dwell on what you might have done incorrectly.