Job Hunting: Pen Can be Mightier than Computer

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<p><strong>New York &mdash; July 25</strong><br />With writer&rsquo;s cramp going the way of the dodo bird, it is not surprising that a handwritten note will surely stand out in a sea of Helvetica.&nbsp; </p><p>&ldquo;There are certainly times when expediency dictates the use of e-mail, but there is no denying the power of the hand-held pen,&rdquo; said Robert Graber, founder of online recruiting site WallStJobs.com.<br /><br />The kinetic, resume-driven nature of professional job search is definitely the prime habitat of electronic communications. </p><p>&ldquo;It is rare that we see any kind of hard copy these days,&rdquo; Graber said. &ldquo;Resumes, cover letters, job requisition, are all online. It makes the search process easier, and it streamlines what were once cumbersome tracking and review procedures.&rdquo;<br /><br />But it also can present an opportunity to gain some extra visibility. </p><p>&ldquo;Hiring managers expect to receive search-related documents online, but a truly exceptional candidate will have noticed or heard something in the course of the hiring process that they can use as fodder for a brief, handwritten note in addition to what are otherwise traditional responses,&rdquo; Graber said.<br /><br />He suggests making note of any awards, plaques, diplomas, photos or displayed memorabilia when interviewing at a company.&nbsp; </p><p>&ldquo;Then, carefully write a brief note relating to what you have noticed,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;For example, if you are a member of the same trade association that presented the company with a displayed award, mention it in a note. If you see a diploma, connect with the school in some way. You may know a friend who went there and can casually relate it in your note.&rdquo;<br /><br />Graber also suggests investing in some quality note cards if you do not have them already. </p><p>&ldquo;Neutral colors are always best,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Practice writing the note a few times to be sure your handwriting is legible. Don&rsquo;t write more than two or three sentences. Unless you were told to the contrary, always use the person&rsquo;s title and sign your first and last name. Make no assumptions of familiarity &mdash; keep it short and professional.&rdquo;<br /><br />Graber offered one last piece of advice.</p><p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t use a postage machine or computer generated indicia &mdash; use a real stamp,&quot; he said. &quot;It&rsquo;s the little things that mean a lot.&rdquo;</p>

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