Writing a Perfect Post-Interview Thank You Note

John Krautzel
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After a job interview, a simple thank-you note can be a powerful self-marketing strategy. Although it seems simple, a brief emailed note helps you stand out in a long line of candidates with similar backgrounds and experiences. It also lets the employer know that you can handle business communication in a polite, friendly way — an important asset in the age of "lol" and 140-character tweets.

Stand Out From the Crowd

The first goal of a thank-you note is to remind the employer who you are. Pick out the thing that stood out to you most during the job interview — a funny anecdote from the employer, how you bonded over a shared love of running or a particularly energizing chat about the state of the industry, for example. After you thank the employer for his time, call up a memory of your conversation with a sentence such as, "I particularly enjoyed our conversation about innovative ways to use print media in a digital world."

Mirror the Interview

The body of your thank-you note should mirror what you learned about the company's needs during the interview. Do this simply, with one or two statements: "Company X seems to be on the precipice of an exciting growth period. The sales team can play an important role, particularly in this period before additional competitors enter the market." Then, follow up immediately by explaining why you're the right person to help meet that need. Mention how you helped a past employer handle a similar problem, discuss your action plan or talk about cross-industry experience that gives you a unique insight into the customer base. Keep your reasons brief and focused on the company's specific pain points to make the most powerful impression. Wrap up the discussion by expressing your enthusiasm for the position.

Include Follow-Up Links

Email is a great friend of the thank-you note because it gives you the ability to add follow-up links. Close with a professional "Sincerely" or "Thanks again", and below your name, add links to your professional social media page, your industry blog or your online portfolio. Choose items that can add to the employer's understanding of who you are as a professional. Don't be afraid to get creative — if you're applying for a theater director position, for example, you might link to an article you recently published about engaging audiences in a digital world. Include a brief description with each link, such as "Facebook profile" or "Recent article about audience engagement."

When to Send a Note

When it comes to a thank-you note, timing is important. Aim to send your note within a week after the interview. At this point, the employer has probably seen additional candidates, but your interview is still fresh enough to call to memory. If that feels too long, consider sending a shorter thank-you email or handwritten note the day after your conversation to start the process, and follow it up with a longer email later on.

Employers often see numerous candidates for a single position — in this competitive atmosphere, it's important to stand out. A well-crafted thank-you note can set you apart and convince the employer that you're a great fit.


Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Richard L thanks for your comment. I guess it depends who you ask. I am from the baby boomer era where we would never email a thank you note. But the millennial generation doesn't see anything wrong with it. Personally, I think that a hand-written thank you note, sent by snail mail is the best way to do it. It shows that you really care; that you are really interested in the position. It's easy to jot off a quick thank you email but it takes time to sit down and actually write one out and then post it. So you can decide what works best for you.

  • Richard L.
    Richard L.

    Is an e-mailed thank you note as effective as a hand written thank you note?

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