interviewWe always get excited every time we find out that someone we’ve helped left an interview feeling good about their chances of landing a job.

The next question after they tell us the good news is, “What do I do next?” This is a very important question. They’re really pumped up about the opportunity but they need to be careful. They need to reign in all that excitement so they don’t bring the momentum to a halt – sending an ill-timed thank you note or going completely silent will do just that.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a checklist that you can refer to whenever you crush that interview and want to be smart about what comes next:

Eat a quick snack

Okay, this might sound totally unrelated but you need to refuel after a long day of interviews. Take a break and reward yourself with a quick snack or your favorite dessert!

Write it down

We know what you’re thinking, here come the thank you notes! But there’s a few things to ponder first. Here’s the thing, a simple “Thank you for meeting with me” message isn’t going to make you stand out in a hiring manager’s mind. Before you start drafting a thank you note, write down a few precise details that were discussed with each interviewer. This will help refresh your memory and allow you to tailor a specific and thoughtful thank you message.

Find the excitement

Now come the thank you notes, right? Not yet. Remember to remind yourself why you got excited about the job you just interviewed for. Will it allow you to make a major career change? Is it the perfect company that you’ve always dreamed of working for? Find the reason that made you excited about the interview and use that as a guide to communicate that enthusiasm to the hiring manager. Be sure you’re not coming off as too overexcited; just let them know the gist of your enthusiasm.

Write a thank you note

Okay, now it’s time to write thank you notes and send them out. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and think this is going to take a long time, don’t feel this way. In all reality, it only takes about ten minutes.

Follow up

You can do one of two things here: Wait for the hiring manager to get back to you and completely stress out while you wait – or – you can be smart and take a more proactive approach by following up in a timely manner.

If a timeline is given, be sure to respect that timeline.  If the timeline approaches and you still haven’t heard back, give them a 1-2 day buffer to still reach out to you.  Plenty of hurdles come up, including administrative hold-ups or unexpected absences.

If no timeline or sense of next steps is given upon exiting the interview, allow at least 4-5 business days (a week) before following up, as it’s likely that they are interviewing additional candidates and haven’t yet made a decision.  Over-eagerness bordering on impatience will not do anything positive for your chances.

Once you’ve checked everything off this list, get back to your job search because as exciting as this opportunity was, it might not materialize, so you need to keep plugging away until this offer – or another one – comes along.