Monday, March 21, 2011

Nonprofit Job Interviews: The Follow Up

You know the drill by now.  You just finished up an interview with a non-profit company, and thought it went pretty well.  What's the first thing you do once you get home?  Why, you right that follow-up e-mail that you have so planned out in your head and---wait, you haven't been doing this?

Well if you haven't you need to get on it right away.  The follow-up e-mail is one of the most important aspects of getting a nonprofit job.  It might not sound fair, but if you don't even write a simple "thank you" note to the job you interviewed at, it is very likely you won't even be considered for the job.  Harsh, I know, but true.  But like all things job-related, it's not as simple as this.  The follow-up email has to walk a very fine line between polite and desperate. 

Yes, one of the worst things you can do with a job interview follow up email is to come off as desperate.  Of course, this is easier said than done, and what is desperate to one person might seem normal to another.  So how should you go about writing this?

Well first of all, make sure it isn't too long.  The last thing an employer wants to do is read a long-winded thank you e-mail.  It may sound blunt, but it's a waste of time for busy nonprofit employees.  They want to see that you acknowledged that they took time to interview you, but they don't want the Gettysburg Address either.  So keep it short and sweet.  Something like this would be perfect:

To [Insert Interviewer's Name Here]:

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to interview me today.  Everything you told me about the position sounds perfect for me, and I look forward to hearing back from you in the near future regarding this position.


Your Name
See?  Short, to the point, and polite.  That's exactly what the not-for-profit you interviewed at wants to hear.

Also, you should not send any more correspondance to the employer if they tell you not to call for updates on the job.  If you really want to kill your chances of getting the non profit job of your dreams, there is no better way than bombarding the organization with e-mails.  It's sort of like dating that way; you don't want to come off as too agressive or it will seriously turn off the prospective employer.

So that's what I have for you  for this post.  Any further thoughts or questions?  As always, leave them in the comments!


  1. I have worked at nonprofits for most of twelve years, and I would not suggest such a generic thank you note. I think it is important to distinguish yourself, one last time, in the thank you note by commenting on something that was discussed in the interview. I think a few paragraphs is fine. No doubt, however, that some type of thank you is essential. This goes for interviewing for internships too. Also, please check your letter carefully for grammatical or spelling errors.

  2. In your first paragraph, you wrote "right" instead of "write." Oops.

  3. Tks very much for your post.

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  4. Good information to know and right to the point on career. Thanks for this well written post related to search jobs , i’ll follow up for more updates if you keep posting them.