Interpreting the Feedback

Interpreting the feedback helps!

Interpreting the feedback helps!

I finished writing the latest manuscript before Christmas. After several more times of re-editing, I came to THE END for the 49th time. Now it’s time to find readers to provide feedback for the next steps in the process.

Several months ago I wrote an article titled Writing a Resume is Like Writing a Novel. A few weeks after Christmas I carefully chose six readers to provide feedback before sending it to the editor. The results are “in” and I thought you might find the comments interesting, as you may want to write a resume or an article or a book one of these days.

Reader Comments

Reader 1-the engineer/recruiter; he provided short, pithy comments, including “too much description. Just get to the bottom line.”

Reader 2-a Presbyterian minister; he gave it thumbs up, encouragement and positive comments, but not much constructive feedback.

Reader 3-a female software engineer; her feedback helped immensely, especially by suggesting jazzier titles for the chapters. I agreed with her ideas, as my titles were boooorrrrrinnnng.

Reader 4-a retired CFO; he provided in-depth feedback, taking great care to be diplomatic. Little did I realize, he’s written many papers and articles about his ancestors. His thorough comments focused on wanting more data and better transitions.

Reader 5-a lawyer who is preparing to write novels; “not enough description. I didn’t read the whole book as you need to embed far more description.”

Reader 6-an HR consultant; never responded.

If you read the former article I wrote about resumes and writing a book, I should not have been surprised by the variety of comments. All the comments provided insight. I began the re-writing,  just as you would, but I freaked out, thinking I should trash the document. Then I came to my senses with a little self-talk saying, “Ruth, no one told you to throw it away. Keep moving forward.”

Take notice the lawyer’s comments are quite relevant to anyone seeking a job or writing for publication. You must grab attention from the start, or the reader stops quickly, even if the total document would knock someone’s socks off.

Over the past weekend, I wrote the words “THE END” again, after re-writing the manuscript once more. I sent it to the editor, whom I found on LinkedIn. I targeted someone who could help with both the punctuation, grammar, and spelling, as well as give me valid, constructive feedback based on her solid background in writing and publishing before submitting it to a publishing company. I’m excited, nervous and eager to see what she says.

This new book I want to publish is not about careers, my regular platform, but a creative non-fiction story, telling how my travels impacted my career and life journey. Yes, writing a book is a little like looking for a new job. Scary but full of learning and growing, often feeling like living in a dark cloud, searching for a door where maybe, just maybe, the light will shine.

Jimmy Fallon and Job Search Thank You Notes

Possible job search “thanks” from Jimmy Fallon

Thank you, Mr. Hiring Manager, for never answering the phone, although I call you every other day to see for my status.

Thank you, Ms. Recruiter, for throwing my resume into the dumpster.

Thank you, Dear Friend, for telling me about your brother’s new job but “forgetting” to give me his phone number.

pickle store owner

Thank you for the pickle. Quite frankly I’d rather have a new job.

Job seekers might laugh at these snarky thank you notes. But Jimmy Fallon’s segment on his nightly TV show provides a tip for all job seekers. Saying thank you (appropriately) can never hurt.

Why Write Thank You Notes

I kept track of how many thank you notes I received during my recruiting efforts. Although I was not religious recording the numbers, I would say ten percent sent thank you notes, after an on-site interview. I loved receiving the notes. Perhaps some recruiters might scoff but I doubt it. Most people want recognition for efforts on your behalf.

Considering job search is actually selling you as the product, you need to take time to write a short thank you note to say why you are clearly the one for the job…that is if you believe it and want the job! In sales training we hear the buyer (in this case the hiring manager) needs to see your name or product six times before he or she “buys” it. A thank you note counts.

What to Write in your Thank You Notes

A thank you note needs to be short, engaging and worth reading. You can sell your skills in the process.

For example:

“Thank you for meeting with me on December 31 for the Systems Analyst position. I particularly enjoyed hearing about your recent software implementation. I’d like to be a part of the team during your upcoming “Next Gen” project. With my background in analysis, I could help you jump-start the process.


“Thank you for interviewing me. I’d like to work for your company.”

If you were the recruiter or hiring manager, with both candidates equally qualified, would the thank you note help you decide which candidate to hire?

My Experiment

The other day I spoke with a group of 10 job seekers. I asked each to send me a thank you note to see how many would reply. I requested feedback to tell me what point in the presentation helped most. Five or six responded, but only one provided a specific response.   Four said, in essence “Liked it.” I was thrilled to hear from everyone, but his note helped me most. I’d been a little nervous about including the point he chose. I’ll remember him. I thanked him. If I come across a lead to help him, I’ll contact him.  That’s the power of an engaging thank you note!

My bet is Jimmy Fallon probably got his job through someone he knows, rather than a thank you note, but he recognizes the value of thanking others. Remember Fallon’s crazy thank you notes, the next time someone does something nice for you. Just don’t be snarky, if you want the job.

Here’s a clip from NBC’s Jimmy Fallon Thank You Notes.  It takes a few seconds for it to pop up.