How to write a thank you note and why it’s so important after your interview

  • interviews
  • December 20, 2016
It may be true that you won’t get a second chance at a first impression, but a thank you note can go a long way toward forging a lasting impression. In the age of texting, Twitter and disappearing Snapchats, why is a thoughtful note (pen and ink or email) so important? Maybe it’s because the human brain is a fickle and flawed boss.

“The brain selectively chooses which events to store in memory. All things being equal, the brain ‘guesses’ that the beginning of an interaction (the hello) and the end (the goodbye) are worth taking a mental snapshot of for future recall.
 
The end, as much as the beginning, is a moment in time that psychological research shows will linger in the memory of your customer [in this case, your potential employer]: it can have a real effect on how [people] view [you] in the days and months to come.” 
 
FORBES.COM
MICAH SOLOMON, CUSTOMER SERVICE CONSULTANT AND AUTHOR
So, how do you draft a thank you that is genuine and memorable? One that just might land your resume at the top of the pile? We’ve pulled together some pointers:  

Timing is everything

Don’t let more than two or three days pass before you drop your thank you in the mail or hit send. The interview will be fresh in your mind (and theirs) and you’ll still have time to potentially influence their decision.
 

Email is ok

An email thank you is fine, especially when interviewing for a technical position or with a digital organization, but be sure to use a professional-looking email address (e.g. john_smith@gmail.com) and keep your subject line simple (e.g. Thank you for meeting with me).

Make it personal

Address your note to the person or people who interviewed you, never ‘To Whom it May Concern.’ If you can’t remember, check the website, email footer or call the receptionist.

Get to the point 

Your interviewer is busy, so make sure the letter is concise. In the first paragraph, start by thanking him or her for the time and considering you for the job. Then, clearly state your interest in the position and company. Be genuine. They are more likely to remember you if you jog their memory and give them something to think about.

Emphasize your qualifications

In a separate paragraph, briefly remind your interviewer of your qualifications that make you stand out for the role. Highlight the specific skills and experience you would bring to the job and the organization that make you the perfect candidate.

Show your interest

In a short third paragraph, include something you learned, a shared connection or an idea or observation you had about something discussed in the interview.
 

End on a high note

This should be a sincere message, not a sales pitch. In your final paragraph, say thank you again and leave them with a positive last impression. Make sure your note is not more than four paragraphs or longer than half of a page.

Give them time

This is your follow up, there’s no need for you to contact them again. The ball is in their court and they will contact you if they’re interested.  
 
If you’re still feeling like this adds one more thing to an already busy day, consider this: The simple act of sending a thank you note will separate you from the pack and leave a lasting impression, something that’s well worth your time.

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