Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Writing a Stand-Out Thank You Note
One of the most critical and often overlooked components of the job search and interview process is writing a timely and genuine thank you note to your interviewers. Not only does the thank you make you stand out amongst the other applicants, it also allows you an extra opportunity to reiterate why you would be the best candidate for the position. Today, we wanted to take some time to answer some frequently asked questions regarding the thank you letter and provide some tips and tricks to take your thank you letter to the next level.
Who receives a thank you letter?
A thank you letter should be sent to each person you interview with. It is important to note that oftentimes interviewers compare their thank you letters, so it is recommended that you create unique and individualized content for each letter. Delivery of the thank you letter can be done by preparing handwritten notes ahead of time and delivering them personally before leaving the interview. If handwritten cards are not an option, or the interview takes place in a remote setting, feel free to find the interviewer email addresses from the company website or find them on LinkedIn!
What should the thank you letter include?
As a general rule, the recipe for a perfect thank you letter includes a professional greeting, a recap of your conversation, a reiteration of your qualifications, and a call to action on next steps.
The professional greeting should mirror how you referred to the interviewer during your conversation. Though it may be tempting to default to a casual tone, it’s important to keep things professional as the thank you letter is an extension of the interview. Professional titles, such as Dr. or Mrs., are preferable if you’re unsure.
The statement of appreciation and recap of your conversation should be brief and hit the highlights of the interview. This is an excellent opportunity to individualize your letters by pinpointing a specific point of interest with each interviewer based on a question they asked or topic of conversation during the interview. This is also where you state the point of the letter - to say thank you for their time and interest!
The reiteration of your qualifications is your time to shine! Though you won’t have much space for elaboration, use this section to analyze the job description and interview questions to highlight three to four areas of expertise that make you the best candidate for the job. This is the chance to brag on yourself and focus on your strengths - make sure the interviewing committee sees that!
Finally, the call to action - if it wasn’t covered in the interview, make sure to confirm the timeline and/or next steps in the interview process, as well as offer any additional information they may need to make the best informed decision.
The thank you letter does not have to be novel-length, and frankly, if it’s too long, the interviewer likely won’t read it. Keep the letter to no more than 2 paragraphs.
When do you send the thank you letter?
The thank you letter should ideally be sent before the end of the day of the interview, but no more than 24 hours after. If for some reason, you can’t make that happen, send the letters out as soon as you can. Any thank you is better than no thank you at all!
Remember, a thank you note has two primary functions: showing your thankfulness and appreciation, and making yourself stand out from the rest of the candidate pool. Keep it short and sweet, professional, and genuine, and you’ll be set up for success after your next interview.