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Career Development

The Lost Art of the Thank You Letter

Kristen Hoffman
June 8, 2016

You wrote a stellar resume and cover letter, received a call from the hiring manager, and had a great interview. Now what? Instead of playing the waiting game, stand out from the competition by sending a thoughtful, well-written thank you letter.

Odds are the employer is going to interview many qualified candidates over a short period. Your thank you note reminds those you spoke with why you are the ideal candidate. You can choose to send an electronic note or a handwritten paper note. (While many candidates look to electronic communication, a handwritten note can be memorable.)

Whichever you choose, send individual thank you notes as soon as you’re done with the interview. You can have them pre-written, but be sure to customize them with something positive from your interview.

To help you leverage your thank you note, here are four helpful tips:

1. “Can I send an email instead of a handwritten letter?”

Yes. An email might not be as effective as a handwritten letter, but it is perfectly acceptable, especially if you are in a time crunch or feel that the employer will appreciate the email at the same level.

2. What do I say in my thank you letter?”

Recap your interview and include a direct reference to something you discussed.
Express your interest in the position and gratitude for the interviewer meeting with you.
Welcome any further follow-up questions that they may have for you.
Provide information you forgot to mention during your interview that can help your chances of landing the job.

3. “How do I know who to send it to?”

Thank you letters are typically written directly to the person who interviewed you. Before you leave the interview, be sure to ask for the interviewer’s card or contact information.
If you interviewed with a panel, you can send it to each panel member or address it to the lead interviewer.

4. “How long should my thank you letter be?”

It should be no more than one page if typed or handwritten. Even touching on one or two points can make a difference. (If you would like to send a thank you card, make sure it has a professional look or design.)

Remember to keep your thank you letter professional and grammatically correct. Remember, this is still a part of the interview process! When done well, this quick gesture can help you differentiate yourself. A thank you goes a long way.

Kristen Hoffman is an adjunct professor at Herzing University teaching professional development courses. She is also a senior career development specialist for both the Kenosha and Brookfield campuses.


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