leave a lasting impression.

  • interviews
  • November 20, 2018

In today's fast-moving, increasingly digital and disruptive business environment, it's tempting to think of thank you notes as old-fashioned, like calling cards left behind by "gentlemen visitors" in Jane Austen novels.

But that's a big mistake: The follow-up thank you note is very much present in businesses today. And given that 12 percent of job applicants admit they rarely follow up after job interviews, according to a recent study by Randstad US, it's also an opportunity to help you stand out from the crowd.

Ready to learn more? Here are seven essential insights to help you craft a dynamite thank you note after every interview.

time is of the essence

You may have heard that comedy equals tragedy plus the passage of time, but don't let that formula guide your professional life — unless you're prepared to laugh at your own missed opportunities down the line. Your follow-up needs to be timely: Don’t let more than one day pass before you hit send. If you're able to send your follow-up note on the same day that you interview, even better. That telegraphs the message that you're on-the-ball and accountable while the interview is still fresh in the hiring manager's mind.

digital channels are the norm

Today, while a handwritten letter delivered via snail mail will certainly be appreciated, emailing thank you notes following an interview is now the norm. Just make sure you're using a professional-looking email address that incorporates your name, like john_smith@gmail.com, as opposed to something much more informal. And keep your subject line simple: "Thank you" or "Great chatting this afternoon" are perfectly fine.

personalize wherever possible

Your note should be addressed to the person or people who interviewed you, not "To Whom it May Concern." If you can’t remember, check the website, poke around on LinkedIn or ask your recruiter or point of contact at the organization.

more is less

Hiring managers have a lot on their plates, so do them a favor and keep your message short and to the point — four paragraphs should be a hard limit. Start by thanking them for their time and considering you for the job. Then, reiterate your interest in the position, and potentially mention something, however small, you learned in the interview. Keep the tone genuine, conversational and professional throughout.

subtly emphasize your qualifications

After the obligatory thank you, use your follow-up note to rehash why your background and experience qualify you for the role. The takeaway should be that you've gained first-hand perspective about the company and the role, and you're more convinced than ever that you're a good fit and capable of delivering value.

give them time

Once you send your thank you note, the ball is in the other team's court. Give your prospective employer plenty of time — at least one week — to arrive at a decision. If you don't hear anything after week, however, it's acceptable to send another note. Be courteous but urgent, and try to get a sense of the projected timeline for the entire process. As you continue through the job searching process, we encourage you to keep in touch with your Randstad recruiter for additional updates.

templatize as much as possible

Happy with your latest follow-up thank you note? Great! Just be sure to save it. Over time, you can put together a basic template, which you can re-use with a little bit of customization after every interview. And that should make things easier for you.

takeaways

Master the art of the expertly crafted, personalized and timely thank you note and you'll be that much closer to landing the job of your dreams. Don't underestimate the power of this kind of messaging to sway a hiring manager, particularly when a choice has to be made between two equally compelling candidates. So take advantage of this polite — not to mention expected — form of communication, which, done right, that can ultimately help tip the scales in your favor.