A thank you letter following an interview is as important as constructing your resume and cover letter. Many people mistakenly think once the interview is over the application process is done, but theoretically your role in the interview process is only complete after you send out a thank you letter to the person(s) who interviewed you.
Writing an interview thank you letter is a way to be courteous and express appreciation for meeting with you to discuss potential employment; it is also proper business etiquette. Whether your interview was a smashing success or a miserable failure, it is essential to follow up with this vital piece of correspondence. If you have never written an interview thank you letter before, there are several key points you should know. These are valuable for many reasons other than being polite and conscious of etiquette.
If you are wondering what the other reasons are as to why this piece of correspondence is vital, read on.
Value of an Interview Thank You Letter
Aside from being thoughtful and demonstrating good business etiquette, the thank you letter provides you with a terrific opportunity to reiterate the reasons why your skills would add value to the organization. It is also a good way to keep your name visible after the interview has been completed. Not to mention it leaves a positive impression of you with the interviewer.
The thank you letter is also worthy because it is a potential way to give you the competitive edge in landing the job. If you are in the running with another (or several) candidates in the final pool of applicants the employer is choosing from, your thank you letter might just be the defining element which sets you apart from the rest. Potential employees who take the time to follow up show their interest and leave a lasting impression more than those who do not bother with the letter.
How to Write an Interview Thank You Letter
While writing an interview thank you letter should be individualized, there are still a few basics to understand when constructing your note. Whereas it is a good idea to customize your thank you, it is also a beneficial approach to follow the basic formula and keep these important letter writing attributes in mind:
Don’t delay. After your interview is over, if you haven’t constructed a basic outline yet, it is a good idea to start constructing your thank you letter immediately; do your best to get it out within a day or two. Use specifics from the interview in a positive way.
In your introductory paragraph always thank your interviewer for their time.
Keep your letter concise and to the point; be careful not to be overly wordy.
Briefly, identify the reasons why you could be considered an asset to the organization. This shouldn’t be a long paragraph, but a gentle notation of what you think you can offer is appropriate.
Restate the skills you possess which would match what the organization is searching for in a job applicant. It is a good idea not to dwell on your accomplishments since they’ve already received your resume, but a simple reiteration is suitable.
Highlight an attribute or two about the organization which impressed you.
Let your interviewer know you are accessible to talk further and you look forward to hearing from them.
State you are happy to send any additional information they may need regarding your qualifications or other details.
How to Send Your Letter
There is some debate on what’s best, so you might want to cover all bases. In 2011, a Career Builder survey found 89 percent of employers said it was OK to send a thank you note in the form of an email (courtesy LifeHacker). Other career experts say a traditional letter is best. Use your judgment on this one. If a company keeps hard copy files, remember the letter will likely go into the applicant file.
If you do decide to send a traditional letter, type it up, envelope it, stamp it and drop it at the post office for delivery. Do this immediately, don’t wait. The interview thank you letter is one of those job searching steps that often gets lost in the shuffle. As people anxiously go through the job hunting process with making several inquiries and filing multiple applications, it is not unusual for this letter to get pushed to the backburner to do later. It is important not to let this happen to you because this element is of no less value of putting forth a solid resume and a winning interview.
A Completed Process
Once you send out your thank you letter and it has been received, you can consider the interview process complete. At this point you can take a deep breath and cross your fingers you get the job. Unfortunately, many job seekers aren’t aware of the urgency of sending out this important piece of correspondence to their potential new employer. The same Career Builder survey found 86 percent of employers said not sending one shows a lack of follow-through, 56 percent felt the applicant wasn’t serious about the position and 22 percent were likely not to hire those who did not send one.
Neglecting to send a thank you, or sending a hasty one, is likely to impact their candidacy for the job. As you write your thank you, keep in mind how valuable this document is and give it the same serious attention you gave when building your resume and when you prepared for your interview. A bad thank you note can hurt your chances too. This is a winning formula when trying to land that coveted job. By taking care and making sure you’ve covered all the bases, chances are you have a good shot at landing the position.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.