You’ve written an awesome resume, got the interview and you aced it. So what do you do next, how can you continue to stand out above the rest? The best way to do this is to send a thank you email. Showing gratitude says a lot about a person and this will only reinforce all the positives you have shown so far. You will have said (or I certainly hope so) thank you at the end of the interview, so this takes it a little bit further and shows true courtesy. Not only this, but you can use this letter of thanks to serve as a reminder of your skills and how these are beneficial to the company. Not sending an email, could actually decrease your chances of getting the job, as multiple studies have shown that up to 25% of hiring managers wouldn’t hire someone who didn’t send a thank you letter after their interview! So after all the effort you’ve put it, you don’t want to lose it all now!
Here, I have collected some points to look for, and some to avoid, when writing your thank you note.
What you should aim for when writing the thank you note:
• Recap your skills
The thank you note is a great opportunity to remind the interviewers of why they should hire you – by recapping your skills. If you take the time to let the interviewer know you are grateful for their time and continue to let them know you are interested in the position. This is a chance to really stand out compared to other candidates. If you show that you understand what the qualities that position requires and that you are willing and motivated to take on any challenges (if hired), this will be beneficial to you. However, you don’t want to regurgitate your resume so avoid falling into this trap. The interviewer has already read this and spoken to you in person about all of it so they will just end up zoning out if they have to read the same information again.
• Your timing when sending the email is important. You don’t want to wait too long after the interview and you should aim to send the email within 24 hours of the interview and definitely by 48 hours. However, you don’t want to mention the timing regarding the process in the email. This would have already been discussed in the actual interview, for example they may say there are interviews for the next week and you should expect to hear within two weeks. If you mention timing in your email you may come across as desperate rather than showing gratitude.
• Tailor the letter
You want to aim to tailor the letter towards the position and company you are applying for. Chances are the hiring managers are going to be able to spot a generic thank you that you could send to any possible company, so a thank you letter that is unique to the person for interviewed you and the company it was with, is going to mean a lot more and could earn you those extra points! You can also tailor your thank you to the individual who interviewed you. Think about what went well in the interview and where did you connect in particular. You should also consider the interviewing style and whether the interviewer was friendly and warm or if the process stayed very formal and business like. This can help you figure about how to style your interview.
• Be unique
You know how everyone says that hiring managers only spend a few seconds looking over a resume so it needs to stand out? Well thats understandable really isn’t it? If you had to read hundreds resumes a week, you would probably end up doing the same thing. This applies to thank you letters too. Thank you letters aren’t a rarity and most will follow the same pattern, so like the resumes, the reader isn’t going to pore over yours – therefore, you need to make it unique to catch their interest. This doesn’t mean you should write a poem or draw a picture, mind you, but perhaps just change up the usual script people opt for. However, be careful you don’t go to far out so the letter becomes informal and too causal.
When writing your thank you email, there are some things you want to avoid:
• Don’t be informal
Although the interview is over, and this is seen to be the most formal part of the process, you don’t want to be causal in your language and come across informal. Remember, you don’t have the job yet!
• Don’t pester!
As mentioned in the timing section above, you don’t want to come across as desperate by asking about the job prospects when they have already told you a deadline. This includes sending further messages after the thank you email. By all means, if they reply with an email that in turn deserves a response from you, thats not a problem. But you shouldn’t be emailing them daily or weekly to get an update. They will contact you when they are ready.
• Don’t babble
Keep the message short and sweet. You don’t want to go on and on in the email and lose the meaning behind it – to say thank you.
However, there is something key to remember here. Whilst most companies do most of their correspondence through email, throughout the process and continually if you are hired, there are some who don’t – these companies may be considered ‘old school’. In this case, a hand written note would be more beneficial. If this is the case, you should follow the same principles as above and post your letter within 24 hours of the interview.
Remember, for your thank you letter you want to include:
• Say thank you to the interviewer for meeting with you.
• Express something you liked about the interview.
• Repeat your interest in the job, recap your skills and how you are looking forward to implementing them if hired.
If you follow these steps, you will have a great thank you letter to follow up your interview and your job prospects will only go up!