By Angela Loëb
I remember a story that Richard Bolles tells in his classic book, What Color Is Your Parachute?, about a baseball team hiring someone for their public relations position. The woman who was hired later asked why they picked her out of the 35 or so applicants. They told her that she was the only one who had written a thank you note after the interview.
Sometimes I’m still taken aback when a client asks me if he or she should write a thank you note. Yes, always, always write a thank you note. Since it’s such an overlooked step in the job search/hiring process, you’ll stand out from the rest when you do. I’d also like to point out that you will demonstrate the kind of traits most mangers value, such as “follow-up discipline” and “interpersonal ability.”
A handwritten note sent within 24 hours post-interview is ideal. If your handwriting is lousy, then type it up. Of course, the other advantage of using a computer to do your thank you note is the spell check feature of your word processing program.
In some cases, you might opt to email your thank you letter rather than use the postal service. Those instances could include:
– When you are working with a 3rd-party recruiter (also a convenient source of spell checking and proofreading).
– When their turnaround time to make a decision is very quick, like as in the next day or two.
– When the decision makers are high-tech, low-touch types, the company itself is very cyber-oriented or the decision makers are Gen-Y. (I add this in because decision makers in these scenarios might see handwritten notes as old-fashioned, and you want to show you’re going to successfully fit into their world.)
Thank You Letter Templates
The template below is a very typical, generic-style thank you letter.
Dear [interviewer’s name],
Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the [position of X] on [day]. I am excited about the possibility of working with you!
Just to recap, we discussed your needs for this position and my how experience and accomplishments relate to those needs: [Briefly provide work experience stories that support key areas of need that emerged during the interview.]
After our meeting, I am confident I will meet any challenges related to this position and provide both the immediate and long-term results you desire. I am sincerely interested in an association with [Company X]. The environment appears to provide the challenges I am seeking and in which I have always been successful. I look forward to speaking with you again on _________.
Next is a modified version of a thank you note that a client recently drafted and sent to me for review. You’ll note that in the third paragraph she refers to something very specific which projects her into the role. This might also be a good place to say something that will make the interviewer remember a personal connection that you may have established during the interview. For example, let’s say you met in the person’s office and his child’s little league team picture was displayed. You commented on the picture, and he told you that they were about to play in a tournament next weekend. Wish his kid’s team well and express your hope that they have fun in the tournament.
Dear [interviewer’s name],
It was a pleasure speaking with you [day and timeframe, e.g. Tuesday morning]. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about your expectations for this role and your vision for [company/division].
Having worked [briefly refer to previous related experience, industry, etc.], I have the breadth of knowledge that will allow me to apply best-in-class approaches to generate and drive [state whatever goals, initiatives, challenges, etc. discussed during the interview].
I also provided [first-round interviewer/line manager] with a summary of preliminary action items I would carry out as the [job title] for the [special client account].
[Interviewer’s name], I am excited about this unique opportunity and look forward to speaking with you soon about some ideas for building and identifying gaps in the knowledge inventory for [special client account].