The Power of a Properly Written Thank You

A powerful thank you note may not be the one tool that lands you the job of your dreams, but it can surely help set you apart from your competitors and give you a leading edge. Thank you notes are a standard part of job interviewing etiquette. If you’re going on job interviews, it means that you’re likely sending a lot of thank you notes. This is good. Coupled with a great interview, a well-written thank you can present a complete picture to a potential employer that may be on the fence about hiring you.

The thank you note is essentially a follow-up and a way to remind the hiring manager who you are, what your key qualifications are, what you can contribute to the organization and how you will improve their bottom line. It is not a magic bullet to landing the job, but it will definitely increase your odds and possibly give you an edge over other applicants.

But are all thank you notes created equal? Not at all. Written poorly, a thank you note can actually have the opposite effect.

In my recent conversations with hiring managers, many have shared that they are noticing that candidates are sending thank you notes that are not personalized to their situation at all. Whether it’s a form note or a generic thank you, it’s not considered an authentic acknowledgment of the interview.

Sending a thank you note that is anything less than sincere, tells the recipient that you’re sending it out of obligation. It can cause them to wonder if you understood the key points they emphasized in the interview and if you will be the type of employee that they want in their company. They can begin making wrong assumptions about you and your qualifications, and this could actually end up hurting your chances of getting hired.

A thank you doesn’t have to be – and shouldn’t be – long or elaborate. But it should tell the person reading it that you truly enjoyed the opportunity to speak with them, give one last, short pitch for yourself, what contributions you can make and reiterate that you want to be a part of the company. It’s also an ideal time to address and put to rest any concerns that may have been raised by the interviewer when you met.

You should write a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview. If you met with several people, you should consider writing a separate and personalized note to each person that interviewed you. It can seem cumbersome, and it may be time-consuming, but you should factor this into your “interview time” that you carve out on your calendar. These are important steps that will go a long way toward getting you into the job of your dreams. Double check your note before you send it to ensure that there are no typos or grammatical errors. Place yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. What did they indicate they are looking for in a new employee? Read your note from their perspective and make sure that it’s something they would want to hear.

One question many candidates have is whether or not you should consider adding a personal note referencing any personal conversation you may have had with the interviewer. It can be a nice way to build more rapport with the interviewer and set yourself apart from others.

As you plan for your next interview, keep these points in mind. Plan time in your calendar to sit down and write out a well thought out thank you note after your interview, while everything is still fresh in your mind. At the very least it will be appreciated by the recipients and may be just the extra touch you need to get an offer.