A few months ago I did a résumé  for a Social Worker who happened to be a participant in my 9:00 AM Saturday Circuit Training Class at a Vancouver community Centre. She had several interviews and landed a position with Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

This morning, on my way to class, I thought about doing a piece on Thank You Letters, so in the middle of class I asked her if she wrote a Thank You Letter after her interview for her life-altering job.

She told me she didn’t, and added, “What’s a Thank You Letter besides a way for you to bilk more money?”

I suppose she caught me napping. I always tell my résumé clients that after their interview, if you don’t want the job, don’t write a Thank You Letter. “When you have an interview,” I tell them, “If you don’t want the job, don’t write a Thank You Letter.”

A Thank You Letter is a strategy to get an interviewer to remember you when it comes to decision time. Ideally, it should be written in a manner that it arrives on the interviewer’s desk right after they have completed their interviews. Most often, if you ask what the next steps would be at the end of your interview, they will tell you where they are in the process. Use this clue to reintroduce yourself. “Well, isn’t that nice. A thank you letter. We should hire him.”

Of course, they may not have liked you as much as you thought.  “Isn’t that creepy?” they might think. “A stalker.”

A Thank You Letter is generally a very short letter thanking them for the interview and telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them. You tell them you liked their interview style and that you hope you answered their questions to their satisfaction.  Then you write a few words to remind them of who you are and something about your experience. Then wave good bye.

 This week, Allison Doyle, one of my Linked In contacts and Alive.Com Job Searching Guide introduced the concept of an Influence Letter. She mentions a few situations where it might be a good idea to embellish your Thank You Letter . According to Doyle, an influence letter is warranted if:

1. You had a strong interview.

If you can add a paragraph or two about your knowledge of the job, or ask some thought provoking questions  without seeming like a jack ass or worse, a know-it-all, the influence letter gives you license.

2. When you know the employer has reservations.

I know I shouldn’t have put my feet on your desk and said, “Avast you squid-faced son of a bitch, how are you doing?” That was my Vancouver term of endearment and it shouldn’t  give you reservations about what I can accomplish for you in the field.  Hmm … That actually might have worked 30 years ago when I said it, but résumés weren’t even invented then.

When you feel the interview didn’t go well.

That happens as well. You choke up, forget references, or miss-answer a question that left a panel of puzzled panelists with raised eyebrows at the interview table.  An Influence Letter can give you a chance to redeem yourself – provided you remember the question you screwed up.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.




  1. energywriter Says:

    Finally got here. Whew. Thought I’d never make it. Anyway, great information and well written. I don’t do interviews anymore but always wrote thank you letters. Sometimes I put more thought into them than I did the resumes. All resumes required were a bit of updated info and another proofread.

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