The Power of Saying “Thank You” – The Job Interview Thank You Letter
“Follow-up/thank you letters count! Two candidates for senior posts lost out recently because they didn’t send letters after job interviews, recruiter for Dussick Management Associates says. The companies had hoped the letters would provide clues to the applicant’s communication skills.” – Wall Street Journal In this day and age when most things we write are texts, tweets, wall posts, and emails, when was the last time you wrote a hand-written letter?
Most people don’t write letters in general, much less by hand. Sending a Thank You letter to recruiters could give you that edge to get the job. You should write a thank you letter to anyone who interviews you for employment, refers you to employers, writes you a recommendation or provides you with general information. We suggest you send out hand written thank you letters, as they are more rare and authentic, and thus stand out. Of course, if your handwriting is illegible, using the assistance of a computer is highly recommended. However, even if you are typing your thank you letter you should print (on resume paper) and mail it rather than email it.
Thank You letters are so important, that Barton College now requires recipients of endowed scholarships to write thank you letters to benefactors before they can receive their scholarship. The advancement office explains it is a two-part program, part fund-raising and part education. The thank you letters keep donors connected to the college and see the benefits of their contributions, potentially leading to future donations. The letters also serve teach manners to a generation of students unaccustomed to sending thank you letters. Barton College is not alone in this endeavor; six years ago, St. John’s University instituted a system which made students’ scholarship funds contingent on a thank-you letter. “We’ve gotten donations after we’ve sent out thank-you letters,” said Saskia DeCaires, director of Donor Relations for St. John’s University. “People will say, ‘I want to increase my gift this year, I was really moved by Tom’s letter.'”
Tips for writing job interview thank you letters:
Timing Try to send the letter within 24 hours of the interview, at longest 2 days later.
Length Keep the letter brief, one half to three quarters of a page should be sufficient, no more than 1 page.
Content (1) Thank the interviewer for his/her time. (2) Review your skills and strengths – especially those that the interviewer desired in a potential employee. (3) Shore up your weaknesses – if you made any mistakes during the interview the thank you letter is a great opportunity to correct them. (4) Reiterate your interest in the job and your enthusiasm for the company.
Personalize Whenever possible, say something that will help your interviewer remember you as an individual among other candidates. You can do this by mentioning a topic of particular interest (to your interviewer or to you) that arose during the conversation, or re-emphasizing a skill or strength important to that interviewer. To help this process, try to jot down some notes about the interviewer and your conversation with them immediately after the interview. Asking for a business card is also helpful as it has the correct spelling of the interviewer’s name and office address. *If you are sending multiple letters to people at the same firm make sure to differentiate them slightly.
Proofread spelling and grammar as well as names of interviewers and companies. Remember, writing a Thank You card will not help you if you make it out to the wrong person and/or company. Learn more about the art of professionalism in the business administration program at Fremont College and be on your way to landing your dream job.