Thursday, January 28, 2010

Job Seekers: After an Interview a Simple Thank You Will Do

So... here you are. You've successfully navigated the treacherous waters of the job search, sending out resumes and then your lifesaver appears- the actual interview! You survived. Congratulations! But you're not safe yet. You can't just sit by the phone hoping it rings. Now is the time to put in that "extra something" to really make yourself shine-- Go the extra mile and make yourself stand out above the rest of the interviews. Send a hand written thank you note.

Did you know that less than 5 percent of job seekers actually send a thank you note after an interview? Yet, every career book advises you do so. So, why not do it?

A thank you note is simple, but there are some rules in sending a proper thank you. Here are the do's and don'ts of a thank you note.


  • Make the note handwritten and personalize it to the time you spent with your interviewer

    Relate to a discussion point/joke/mutually interesting fact from the interview. If you discussed the price of tea in China, Google the price and include it as a "by the way, I thought you'd be interested to know, the price of tea is X." This shows the interviewer you are serious, thoughtful, and capable of researching facts and figures

    Relate in to your interviewer. If you discussed dogs, choose a card with dogs on the front. Include a little known fact about their favorite breed. Whatever way you choose to incorporate this, your interviewer will be pleased you remembered that fact about him/her.

  • Put effort into the note. Be careful of typos, grammatical errors, and penmanship.

    Pre-write your note on your computer screen and copy word- for-word from there. Your computer will tell you of any grammatical or typing errors or so you can correct anything ahead of time. If you have unreadable writing, be sure to print and use all caps if you must. It is MOST IMPORTANT that the interviewer be able to read the card and know it was you who sent it.

  • Send a thank you note to everyone that you interview with.

    Sometimes, one interview may consist of a panel of employers; therefore, you want to recognize everyone because they are all making the decision. Write and send a personalized thank you to each individual!

  • Send a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.

    I find that having the thank you note addressed and stamped and in the car is the best. When the interview is completed, drive to a post office, complete the card in the parking lot and drop it in the mail. This guarantees the card gets written, arrives as soon as possible after the interview and contains details from your conversation while they are still fresh in your mind.

  • Send a thank you even if you get hired before a thank you gets sent.


  • Do not send a thank you note via email.

    Exception to this rule is if a business is very email savvy and does most of the work via email. But written notes are the best way to go!

  • Don't copy a generic thank you letter that you can find online. PERSONALIZE!
  • Don't say anything negatively, pushy, or make it seem like the note is intended as a plead for a job. Just say thank you and make it from the heart. It's your best bet.
As you can see, a thank you note is simple. Just make sure you carve out the little bit of time it takes to write a good, personalized and heartfelt note. It may not be the breaking point of getting the job, but it will certainly add points in your favor. But, I think of it as a tie breaker; if an employer is undecided between you and someone else. If you are both qualified and great candidates for the job, but you send a thank you note... That simple gesture may make all the difference. Think about it.

Here are some great links to check out for ideas of good, personalized thank you notes:

* Remember don’t copy these samples, make your own!

Carly Sabato

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