Whatever method you use — email or snail mail — a short, polite thank you letter to the employer immediately after your job interview can be a smart idea. Do you absolutely have to write one? No. Can you get the job without formally thanking anyone? In many cases YES you can — assuming you have everything else they’re looking for.
But it’s still a smart idea to send one. So to help you with your thank-you note, this post offers some suggestions on what to do – and what not to do — as well as some thoughts on what an employer might be looking for. I’ve also included a sample thank you letter to help get you started.
What should a good thank you note say to an employer?
Your goal throughout the interview process is to make sure that you leave your interviewer(s) and everyone you meet at the company with a positive impression. So a thank you note is simply an extension of that. One more chance to remind them who you are.
If you aren’t qualified, it’s almost guaranteed that the note isn’t going to help. But if you are one of the contenders, it can help you stand out or be remembered as someone especially thoughtful and professional whom they might enjoy working with.
But there is always the chance that the note will land just right and get you seen in a new light. Here’s a nice story about how a smartly sent thank you note actually helped get the person the job:
Who do you send the thank you email or letter to?
Basic thank you notes should be addressed to the interviewer(s) or main contact person. Use their full name and official title in the heading of the letter as shown below.
But don’t forget the Rosie O’Donnell example above. Sometimes also sending one to the person who got you into the interview can make all the difference!
More about writing the note itself:
After “Dear” don’t use their first name unless they specifically asked you to. Instead use Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. (only if specifically mentioned, otherwise Ms.) or a title like Dr. or Judge or Professor as required.
And if you had more than one interviewer, you might try customizing it for each person, if possible. For instance, if you can recall something each person said that you want to mention or something about their position in the company, especially as it relates to the job, a personalized note may stand out even more.
Sample thank you letter AFTER an interview
I strongly advise that you adapt this to your own style and circumstances, but this should help get you started.
[Click on image above to see letter in new window]
ALSO: You might want to attach a business card to your thank you note, if you have one and it’s appropriate for the job. If you don’t have a professional card yet, please add one to your job search tool kit as soon as possible.
And while this suggestion might not be appropriate for every job, there may be circumstances where a Joan Doe, Professional Waitress business card or whatever (even when networking) could leave a fun memorable impression.
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