Before breathing a sigh of relief after a job interview, there's one more thing to do: Write a thank you letter. This simple step can put you ahead of other job candidates and the sooner you do it, the better. This last step should be regarded as part of your routine job search process for every interview in which you take part.
At the conclusion of your interview, secure the contact information of all the people who interviewed you. If they do not offer you their business card, request their contact information at the conclusion of each meeting.
Reasons to Send a Thank You Note After an Interview
Sending a thank you letter to a prospective employer certainly will not guarantee a job offer, but it will give you an edge if the competition is tight. Although a hiring manager may not be offended if you don't send a note, they will notice when you do. Always make sending one part of your job search strategy.
At the very least, sending a note to express gratitude is polite. Just as you wouldn't visit someone's home and leave without expressing gratitude, don't leave an interview without saying thank you to the interviewer. Being gracious and professional is important when interacting with prospective employers.
Aside from etiquette, another significant reason to send a thank you letter is that it is an opportunity—perhaps your only one—to follow up after your interview. Use it to let the prospective employer know you want the job. It may feel awkward to say those words out loud during the interview, but it's much easier to type them.
No matter how prepared you are, the stress of the interview may cause a brief lapse of memory. Your thank you note is the perfect opportunity to communicate a point you forgot to discuss. It also allows you to reiterate something you want the interviewer to have in mind as they make the hiring decision.
What to Consider Before Writing a Thank You Letter
Just as it is essential to carefully compose your resume and cover letters, and prepare to answer interview questions, it is equally crucial to give a lot of thought to how to craft your thank you letter. Considerations such as the timing, letter recipients, and content are important for furthering your chances of getting the job.
Send a thank you note as soon after your interview as possible. A few hours later is best, but don't wait more than one business day to send it. It is critical that the employer read it while your interview is still fresh in their mind.
Paper or Email
As timeliness is everything, email is your best option for getting your letter into a prospective employer's hands as quickly as possible. It is also, most likely, the way you've been communicating with the employer leading up to the interview. Your meeting may have even been a virtual one, taking place via video chat or over the phone.
Thank You Letter Recipients
If more than one person at an organization was present at your interview, thank each one in writing. Make sure to personalize the note for each recipient, perhaps by referring to a question they asked.
Your email should be no more than three paragraphs. Use a formal title such as Ms. or Mr. to address the recipient unless the interviewer said to use their first name. To begin, thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet and indicate the date you met.
If there was something you wanted to say at the interview but didn't, bring it up now. Also, use this opportunity to reiterate a point you want the interviewer to remember when they make a hiring decision.
Remember to say that you would welcome a job offer. Do not worry about this sounding too forward. The recipient will admire your directness and confidence.
Fast Tips for Writing Your Thank You Email
Here are some tips for composing a thank you letter:
- Use a formal greeting that includes the recipient's title (Mr., Ms., or Dr.) and last name unless they instructed you otherwise.
- Include the date of your interview and the job title for which you are a candidate.
- Reiterate something about yourself that highly qualifies you for this position.
- Express your interest in the job.
- Use a formal closing such as "Yours truly," "Sincerely," or "Thank you."
Thank You Email Sample
Dear Ms. Diaz,
Thank you for meeting with me on Monday, June 4. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my qualifications for the paralegal position at Diaz, Klein, and Brown. I enjoyed learning about the job and the role I could play at your firm.
My experience working on criminal cases at my current job, as well as my paralegal training, make me an excellent fit for this position. During my interview, I neglected to mention that I have also worked on several landlord/tenant disputes. I understand Smith, Klein, and Brown will be expanding into that area and I think my experience will be invaluable.
I look forward to becoming part of your team.
Before You Send the Letter
Carefully proofread your thank you note. Check for typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Write a customized letter for each employer using theirs and their company's name. Be careful when cutting and pasting portions from letters you've sent to other employers, as some job seekers like to do. Make appropriate changes, such as removing the name of another organization or manager.
Mistakes in your thank you letter will make you look careless. Save the email as a draft and go back to look at it after some time has passed. Give it a final once-over before sending it. If possible, have someone else review it as well.
The Bottom Line
It is essential to write a thank you note after a job interview. Send it to each person who participated. Reiterate your qualifications for the job and express your interest in the position. Incorporating this step into your job search will increase your chances of getting a job, as it will separate you from other candidates in a competitive job market.