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Interview Thank You Notes: Dos and Don’ts!

Finally! All of the time you have spent on job search websites, reviewing job search engines, and networking paid off! You landed an interview. Everything you do now can either help or hurt your chances of landing the job. Thank you notes are an often-overlooked aspect of the job hunt.

Some disagree about how important it is to write thank you notes, suggesting that they don’t really matter and that they may actually hurt a candidate if done poorly.

On the flip side, some hiring managers appreciate and expect notes. Alison Doyle, About.com’s Job Searching Guide, advises, “Writing a thank you letter, or thank you e-mail after an employment interview is a must.” It seems most people don’t follow that advice! Quint Careers reported that only about 5 percent of job seekers actually follow up after interview with a thank you note.

How can you use a thank you note to stand out in a crowd?

Do

  • Write individual notes to everyone who interviewed you. Collect business cards so you have exact contact information and the spelling of everyone’s name.
  • Reiterate your interest and remind the interviewer of something you discussed by commenting on something that seemed important to the interviewer. For example, if he or she asked a lot of questions about being a team player, share another story that illustrates what a strong team member you are.
  • Try to use “me, my, and I” sparingly to avoid appearing self-centered.
  • Keep it brief and professional, suggests Harry Urschel via CareerRocketeer.
  • Indicate when you will follow up again.

Don’t

  • Misspell the names of your contact or include typos or errors.
  • Do not wait too long to send the note. Many hiring decisions are made quickly, so be sure to mail a note the same day if possible, and consider e-mailing your thank you.
  • Don’t worry about if a hand-written note or a typewritten note is best. While I always prefer typed note, if  time is not of the essence and the note is well written and legible, it is unlikely to matter either way.
  • Be sure you don’t sound desperate in your letter. Reiterate why you are the best candidate, not why you need the job. (It’s about the employer, not about you.)

Here is a sample:

Dear Ms. Smith:

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position of _______________. It was a pleasure meeting you and learning about (company name’s) history and how you see this position impacting your plans going forward. I hope you agree that my experience and background in (________, __________, and __________) make me an ideal match for your organization’s needs.

Add some detail from the meeting or expand on an idea you mentioned already. For example: As we discussed, my track record of being able to quickly acclimate to new work roles is strong, resulting in meeting goals ahead of schedule. You mentioned that you hope to fill the position with someone who consistently exceeds expectations. Everyone who has supervised me will tell you that I welcome new challenges, outperform benchmarks, and accomplish complex tasks under budget in record time.

I look forward to the opportunity to join your team and to bring my passion for __________ to help accomplish your ambitious goals for the new year. Please don’t hesitate to contact my references or me for additional information. As we discussed, I will be in touch at the end of next week if I do not hear from you sooner.

Sincerely,

Jane Jones

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