When, why and how to write a thank you note

When, why and how to write a thank you note

You’ve just breathed a sigh of relief. Coming out of the office following an interview, you thought you did well. You’ve marketed yourself well. You kept your answers short and sweet. And you looked the part.

But this first step isn’t over yet. You still need to write and send a thank you note to your interviewer. However minor it may sound, this simple note helps to reaffirm your interest in the position and the organization, and it leaves a lasting impression in the hiring authority’s mind.

So, let’s go through several tips on how to write a top-notch thank you note and things to keep in mind when sending it.

  • Follow-up almost immediately after your interview.

If you’ve had a morning interview, send a thank you note at most four-five hours later. If your interview was held in the late afternoon or early evening, send a note in the next morning at around 7 am. This way, when the hiring manager gets into the office, you’re one of the first things on their mind.

  • Remember you don’t actually have to say the words “thank you.”

It’s funny that we call it a thank you note, but saying thank you isn’t actually the most essential part of your message. Keep in mind that merely thanking the hiring manager for their time isn’t enough. It’s even more important to reaffirm your interest in continuing on with your candidacy and inquire about next steps in the process.

  • Keep it short and sweet.

In terms of the writing style, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. Sure, you want to tell them again that you’re interested in the position and you want to know about the next steps in the application process, but you don’t want to oversell yourself or pad up the note with extraneous details to try to make yourself look good. That’s what the resume and interview were for. Now, you just want to write a simple little paragraph summing up your interest and keeping yourself on top of their minds.

  • What’s that? It doesn’t even need to be hand-written?

It’s true that hand-written notes are deemed more personal. But in this case, handwriting your “thank you” note isn’t necessary. In fact, when you have a late interview and you’re trying to send them a note early the next morning, a quick email might be best to get something out as soon as possible. Also, if you’re like me and find your handwriting can pass for a monkey’s, email would also be better.

  • Personalize it!

This is an absolute given. Like all letters, it needs to be personally addressed to the hiring authority who interviewed. If you were interviewed by more than one person, you should consider sending a note to each one. If you do have multiple interviewers, it would also depend on whether the interview went well and if you’re developed rapports with anyone specific. Use judgment, however. You may not know who in the group makes the ultimate hiring decision. It’s also a good idea to highlight a key part of your interview to make yourself more memorable to the hiring authority.

  • Proofread it!

You think just because it’s a thank you note that it doesn’t matter if there’s a typo? Wrong! Making a typo on a thank you note is easily in the same ballpark as making a typo on your resume. So make sure you edit it carefully before sending it out.

More than 60% of job seekers don’t send a thank you note. And more than 80% don’t send a thank you note to the person who got them the interview. Remember thank you notes need to go out to the person who got you in the door, that could mean a friend or acquaintance or even an agency recruiter. Keep in mind that you want to brief but compelling in your thank you note. And don’t underestimate its usefulness, its the best way to stay top of mind.

Sending your interviewer a compelling thank you note immediately after the interview will further help you stand out from the competition.

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