You have just finished your interview and want to write the perfect Thank You letter- but what should you say?
Technically, there’s no such thing as a perfect thank you letter. However, you can write a darn good one!
But before we get into writing, let’s step back a second.
Before You Leave the Interview…
Before you leave the interview you must ask a couple of really important questions!
1. What are the next steps in the process
2. What is your time-frame and if I don’t hear from you by then what is the best way for me to follow up with you?
These questions serve a couple of purposes. First, asking these questions shows you are interested in the job and will take accountability for following up. Second, you now know when you should follow up and you won’t feel like a pest following up because you’ve gotten their permission!
The Thank You
The interview is a business transaction. It isn’t a birthday party, bridal shower or social event.
That is why I believe the perfect Thank You letter should be in the form of a letter with three paragraphs (just like your cover letter).
Sure, there are those that make the argument for a handwritten note. I hear it a lot. But here’s why I’m taking a stand on this. You have more to say than just “thank you” and that may be difficult to do in a handwritten note.
The real answer is determined by the preference of the person who will be receiving your thank you message. Some people and industries may value this more than others.
Paragraph 1: This explains why you are writing…thank you.
Paragraph 2: This explains how your specific skills are a match for the job and how you will add value to their organization. This might also be an opportunity to address any of your areas of weakness during the interview or to improve upon an answer you gave during the interview.
Paragraph 3: This emphasizes your gratitude for the opportunity and states when YOU will be following up.
If you can accomplish this in a handwritten note, be my guest!
The Purpose of Your Letter
There is more than one reason you are writing this letter. You are being polite, yes. But above and beyond that, you want to convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate. You want to remind them of your interest in the role, your fit with the company and the value you will deliver if hired.
Additionally, sending a thank you helps make you memorable. Believe it or not, not everyone sends a thank you. In fact, only 5% send thank yous.
When an organization interviews lots of people, it is very easy for them to mix candidates up or forget specifics. Your thank you helps remind them who you are!
Snail Mail vs. E Mail?
You know what their time frame is for the next steps so let that determine the sense of urgency and how you decide to deliver your Thank You. It isn’t about which is easier for you. Think about the impression you will be making on the other person.
Sometimes job seekers want to do both.
Sending an email immediately following the interview checks the box for getting it done. Email, by definition, is shorter and a bit less formal. Go ahead and send a short, well-crafted email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time and indicate that you have mailed them a letter as well. Just remember, your Thank You letter sent through the mail shouldn’t be exactly the same. Put more time and thought into it and use the 3-paragraph format above.
- Use formal business letter heading and closing
- Don’t make this a cut and paste template.
- Customize your message and details for each and every interview and interviewer.
- Be as specific as possible when it comes to talking about how your skills/qualifications match the job and why that is of value to the organization.
- Interject the right tone/personality to fit the organizational culture and personality of the person interviewing you.
Sample Thank You Letter
City State Zip
Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name:
It was wonderful to have the opportunity to speak with you about the [job title] position with [company name], and I thank you. I know how limited a [role of interviewer] time can be, and your timely involvement in the interview process impressed me. After speaking with you, I felt certain that we can develop an effective working relationship.
After reflecting on our discussion, my conclusion is that you are looking for more than just another [job title]; it sounds like you are looking for someone who will pursue opportunities as if it were for their own business. Accountability and autonomy are engrained in me, and I have the proven experience to back this up. I intend to use not only my dedication in this position but my persistent prospecting and interpersonal skills to convert potential customers into enthusiastic advocates of your service.
If you decide that I should interview with additional team members, I will be available at your convenience. Until then, I look forward to the possibility of working with you. I thank you again for taking the time to meet with me.
Live Careers has a vast collection of Sample Job Interview and Career Thank You letters.
And Alison Doyle’s About.com Thank You Letter Samples will help too!