The interview is finally over. Gone are the sweaty palms and butterflies in your gut. In retrospect, it went well. You learned a lot about the company, the job and the people who you might one day call your colleagues. You skillfully avoided saying “sir,” “m’am” or “hooah” at any number of points throughout the long conversation.

The employer seemed genuinely interested in you, your skills and your ever so charming yet professional demeanor. Even out of uniform, you clearly still have it.

Now that the excitement and the stress of the big interview are finally over, you find yourself strangely alone with only the echoing sound of crickets chirping keeping you company.

Just what are you supposed to do now, anyway?

Two Briefcases – One Decision

Imagine you are now a contestant on the hit game show, Deal or No Deal. There you are, under the hot lights with Howie Mandel by your side. There are only two briefcases (or decisions, if you will) left and it’s up to you to pick one to eliminate.

Unbeknownst to you at this very moment, one briefcase contains absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. If you choose to keep this one, you will end up doing absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. Instead, you will sit idly by, watching the world rush past you while you wait for the telephone to ring or the email to arrive, offering you the job of your dreams. You may end up being sorely disappointed.

This is the bad briefcase. You know it in your gut. Even the model holding it suspects it to be stinker by the sour look on her face.

The second briefcase/decision, on the other hand, is full of excellent post-interview follow-up strategies. The model sports a million-dollar smile.

Being the intelligent, bold audacious, risk-taking former warrior, you ditch the first briefcase without a second thought and enthusiastically embrace the second one. As a result, here is what you do, after the interview, to further enhance your chances for the job in question:

Craft the perfect thank you letter.

Head right back to your computer where you skillfully craft the perfect thank you letter and send it to the interviewer in a timely manner.

In this perfect thank you letter, you express your sincere gratitude for the interview itself. You remind the employer of your ever so applicable to the job qualities, stressing those points that seemed to interest him the most during the interview. You restate your burning desire to work for the company and your availability to begin work. You mention that you will contact him by a certain date if you have not heard anything beforehand. After you spell check it and sign it, you will promptly send it on its way.

Re-engage your network.

Once again, you touch base with your network of friends, family members or cordial acquaintances, particularly if they happen to work for the company where you just interviewed. Let them know you think the interview went well and do your best to skillfully milk them for any precious intel from the Other Side of the Paycheck.

Take advantage of available face-time opportunities.

You learn that the company where you interviewed will be attending a local job fair.

How very timely.

Show up. Introduce yourself to representatives there and mention that you just interviewed for a job with their company. Leave a positive impression there so they may be inclined to go back to the power players and mention your name.

Keeping your name fresh on the minds of the decision maker is key at this point of the interview process.

Think Ahead.

You’ve done everything you can possibly do to create that positive impression. You’re going to assume, just for the moment, that the moon and stars are properly aligned and you will be offered the job.

What will you do then?

Now is a good time to truly evaluate all the information you gathered. Think about whether or not you would realistically accept a decent job offer from this company.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • • Does the job offer you opportunity for advancement?
  • • What are the benefits? Do they rate?
  • • Does the job appear to contain the types of professional challenges that you seek in your post-uniform life?
  • • Did you discuss salary levels or not? If not, make sure your comfortable with a given range and prep your case for it because that will come next in the process.

Drive Ahead.

Even though you may think a job offer is imminent and you are receptive to accepting it, drive on with your job search. Look for the next opportunity and the next.

Research. Apply. Network. Interview. Work it baby.

The fat lady doesn’t sing until the show is over and unless you have signed on the dotted employment line, the show isn’t over yet.

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Janet Farley is the author of the Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job (Jist Inc, 2012). She writes the JobTalk column for the Stars and Stripes newspapers.