Workwrite Resumes

Job Search Letters: Stand out by sending a post-interview thank you note

thank-youThere’s a really simple way to set yourself apart from other candidates in a job search: Send a thank you note after each interview. It’s not likely to make or break your hiring decision (although I’ve heard of the isolated case in which that happened), but how can it hurt to add to an already good image? It could make you even more memorable since less than 5% of candidates actually send them.

What type of note to send

Don’t get hung up about whether it should be an email, a business letter, or a handwritten note. Use your judgment based on your interaction with the people you met. Which do they seem like they would prefer? Sometimes the answer won’t be the same for everyone in the company. The guy in the three-piece suit might like the business letter on cotton content paper best. The tech in the corner who hardly looked up from her phone will prefer an email. I like hand-written note cards best because they are personal and less common.

Do write a note to everyone you talked with. If the receptionist helped you out, write one to them, too. They will remember, and some have more influence than you would think. I remember hearing a story about an executive who took each of the top few candidates to lunch so he could watch how they interacted not with other executives but with the people who waited on them. He wanted to know how his employees would be treated by this person.

What to write

The most crucial thing about the thank you note is the content. Here is the formula:

  1. Personalize the note with the person’s name. If you didn’t collect business cards from everyone, call the department and ask for them.
  2. Say thank you for the interview.
  3. Reiterate your interest in the position.
  4. Briefly list your qualifications for their major needs.
  5. Address any miscommunication that may have happened during the interview.
  6. Add any information that may have been missed in the interview.
  7. Repeat your thanks and your contact information.

The note still needs to be short, so you don’t want to write a book about any of these items.

When to send thank yous

Send your thank you notes right away. As soon as you leave the building, stop in a coffee shop and write your notes. Hand deliver them back to the office. Or write and mail/email them as soon as you get home. This is an important time to stay top of mind.

If you have trouble expressing yourself in writing, contact me right away. I can write a complete set of templated letters for you to use with every application you make. I’ll also show you how and when to use the letters.


Image courtesy pixabay.com.

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