All throughout college when I would apply for jobs, I was always told about the importance of following up to each employer. Time and time again, whether it was my parents, professors, or my older, employed friends, they would preach about how a simple thank you, or an extra phone call would help me stand out in the job market. In theory, it seemed to make sense. And I believed them, sure, because after all, they were all currently employed. And I did try it, a couple times, but I can honestly say I don’t remember a specific time when I received the benefits of my extra effort.

It wasn’t until I was on the other side of the interviewing table, did I have my ah-ha moment. I’ve recently been conducting Skype interviews for the exchange program that I work for, and I’ve noticed that as the numbers pile up, it gets harder and harder to differentiate each applicant. It is then, that the “little things” start to come in to play. Things like how each person dresses for the interview, how they portray their tone in their emails, etc. And then there’s the follow-up email, thanking you for taking the time to interview them, thanking you for your consideration and the opportunity to apply for this program. A simple thank you.

When I got off the phone with an applicant, I was impressed with how the interview went, and was optimistic of her potential in the program. However, I wasn’t blown away. There wasn’t that one thing that I could look back on after interviewing 200 more applicants, and explain why he/she needed to be accepted.

That was until I saw a (1) by my inbox. She took the extra effort, and it worked. And now I really am a firm believer in the power of the follow-up.

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