I recently heard about a candidate who had great qualifications for the position, but made what might have been a near-fatal mistake. She interviewed well, but she didn’t send a thank you note after the meeting. The hiring manager confessed that it almost cost her the offer. It made me think it was time for a refresher on why thank you notes still matter and how to write a good one.
It was a good interview. Maybe even a great interview. You felt a connection to the interviewer, you felt that you answered the technical questions well, and there were no unpleasant surprises regarding the duties or the salary. You’re feeling hopeful, but you know they have two more candidates to see. What next step will really advance your chances for this job?
A great thank you note.
Since the art of writing and the art of gratitude seem to be in decline, here are some tips for crafting a great thank you follow on to your interview.
First, make sure you turn it around quickly. Write it when you get home and put it in the mail right away. The letter or note should arrive within two days of your meeting. I am going to buck tradition on the usual handwritten note advice; I think that a word processed note is fine. My handwriting has deteriorated so much since I started working on a PC that I feel it detracts from my note, rather than adding value. I also have trouble writing in straight lines and dislike the small space available on note cards. If you do choose to hand write a card, pick a simple “thank you” design with no flourishes (and no flowers or bunnies, either; you know who you are.)
If you decide to type the note, you can create simple letterhead template by using your resume header. Choose some nice paper stock, something better than basic copy paper. Buy matching envelopes; having some personalized return address labels printed up is an inexpensive nice touch.
Now for content: be specific, warm, and make one last case for yourself as a candidate. Open with thanks, of course, and recall something you discussed in the interview.
“Dear Ms. Jones: Thanks so much for meeting with me today. I enjoyed learning more about ABC company and the account manager position. As we discussed, I think that my experience in the hospitality industry would be helpful in managing your national hotel accounts and prospecting new accounts. I was impressed with ABC company’s approach to customer service, and I can see why you have been able to increase your market share over the past five years.”
Then close with a strong expression of interest in the position. “I want to express again my interest in the position and hope I’ll get a chance to meet with the team for the panel interview you mentioned as the next step. If there is any further information I can provide about my experience, please let me know.”
Sign your name legibly and mail it off. Career experts say that only about five percent of people write thank you notes (although I think many jobseekers have caught on to the practice.) If you execute well, your clear writing and prompt return may set you apart from the other candidates.
Here are some thank you letter templates from About.com: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/thankyouletters/a/samplethankyou.htm