How to Write a Thank You Letter After an Interview
Just back from a job interview? Before breathing a sigh of relief, 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.
Reasons to Send a Thank You Note After an Interview
Sending a thank you letter to a prospective employer 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 go without saying thank you to an interviewer. Being gracious is always the right thing to do.
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 were, the stress of the interview may have caused a brief lapse of memory. Your thank you note is the perfect place to bring up something you forgot to discuss. It's also a good opportunity to reiterate something you want the interviewer to have in mind as he or she makes the hiring decision.
Questions 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. You may have questions about the right way to do it. Here are answers:
When Should I Send It?
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 get it out. It is critical that the employer read it while your interview is still fresh in his or her mind.
Paper or Email?
You may be wondering whether it's okay to send your note via email. The answer is a resounding yes. Since timeliness is everything, email is your best option for getting it 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.
Who Should Get a Thank You Letter
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.
What Should My Email Look Like?
Your email should be no more than three paragraphs long. Use a formal title such as Ms. or Mr. to address the recipient unless the interviewer said to use his or her first name. First, thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet—indicate the date you met.
If there was something you wanted to say on the interview but didn't, bring it up now. Also, use this opportunity to reiterate a point you want the interviewer to remember when he or she makes 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. Besides, if you don't say it, how will he or she know?
Fast Tips for Writing Your Thank You Email
- 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.
- Don't forget to 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 a part of your team.
The Last Thing to Do Before You Hit Send
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 take a look 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.