If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you should know by now that an interview isn’t over until you’ve sent a thank-you note to everyone that you interviewed with that day. It’s critical in terms of showing your potential employer that you actually care about the job, that you are capable of expressing the basic human emotion of gratitude, and that you are generally on top of your game. I guarantee that, all else being equal, or even if you are slightly better than your competition, if you fail to write a thank-you note and they do write one, they will get the offer.
With that in mind, the content and style of your note can make a difference as well. So, to give you all some direction, I’ve chosen 5 sample thank-you letters which each highlight a key point. Without further ado:
1. The Targeted Letter, CNBC.com
This letter addresses a specific point, in this case the fit of the interviewee in the organization. A letter like this may be particularly useful if the interviewer stressed the importance of something like fit, or if you felt it may have come across as a weakness of yours during the interview. It is relatively formal with the full business letter heading, but this is okay. I also really like how the writer re-mentions the name of the interviewer in the closing paragraph. It adds a nice personal touch to an otherwise formal letter. And people like to hear/read their own names, makes them feel powerful.
2. The Super-Generic, About.com
Yes, this is a cookie-cutter letter. So if you decide to use this, make sure you spice it up a little, inject some energy! I chose it for one particular reason- it makes very good use of a specific example of something that was discussed during the interview: the business plan. By mentioning something that you talked about with your interviewer, you can show that you really were paying attention, not just nodding your head and smiling like a fool. Bonus points: ask a follow-up question, or provide some additional insight into something you talked about, this is sure to impress!
3. The Recapper, Chiff.com
In addition to providing some excellent interview follow-up tips, the note here (found about halfway down the page) demonstrates good use of personal selling. The writer clearly and concisely reiterates not just their strength, but how it will benefit the organization based on what has been discussed during the interview. Because let’s face it, you may be totally awesome, but if your skill set doesn’t match what the company needs, you’re probably out of luck. I also like how the writer reaffirms his interest in the position, this shows the interviewer that he actually wants this job. Pro tip: Tell the interviewer how interested in and enthusiastic you are about the position at the end of the interview also, really let them know that you care!
4. The “Thanks For Nothing”, SusanIreland.com
This may very well be the most important thank-you letter you ever write. It it’s not post-interview, nor is it post-offer. This baby is the post-rejection thank-you. Frankly, I’d never heard of or thought of this idea before coming across this one, but it’s brilliant! Just because you weren’t the best fit for one job doesn’t mean you aren’t the best for another. And who better to network with than people making hiring decisions in your industry? Instead of burning bridges after job rejections, take the opportunity to make a connection with the interviewer that you can bet none of the other candidates are even thinking about. It’s not hard to see how this can quickly lead to other interviews and introductions.
5. The What-you note?, Career.VT.edu
These two letters provide an unintentional “before and after” scenario, with the first (5.4) being an example that you want to avoid. The writer seems to have forgotten the purpose of the note altogether, which is to thank the interviewer for their time and consideration. Notice that in the first paragraph, the words “thank you” appear exactly zero times. We’re glad you had a good time and all, but that’s not why we’re here! Get your head in the game, kiddo. And don’t say “thanks again” at the end when you haven’t properly thanked them once. (This oversight is actually far more common than you’d expect. DO NOT be the one to perpetuate it.) Thankfully, the next example straightens this out.
So there you have it. 5 different interview thank-you notes, all with their own styles, strengths, and weaknesses. Individually, they may not all be perfect, but if you take the best aspects of each, you’ll have a damn good letter. Just please do me and yourself a big favor: say thank you in the first sentence, no matter what. The rest is up to you.
Got any other tips you’d like to share? What’s the note that got you the job?