Top 3 Ways To Write A Thank You Note

May 25 2010 in Interviews, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career advice

One of the easiest (yet often unused) ways for a job seeker to stand out is through a post-interview thank you note. Thank you notes are more than being polite, they are an additional opportunity to sell yourself as a great fit for the job.

Here are some ideas of how to supercharge a simple thank you note …

Roughly 60% of candidates don’t write thank you notes, so just by scrawling something in crayon puts you ahead of much of your competition. But while 40% of candidates know how to be polite, most don’t know how to make a thank you note into an additional selling opportunity.

What The Typical Thank You Note Includes:

While the thank you note that most candidates send isn’t ideal, it’s important to understand what most candidates include and what they don’t include. The typical thank you note includes:

  • A sincere thank you for time spent
  • Reaffirmation of interest (sometimes)

To Supercharge Your Thank You Note, Include:

Let’s contrast what to include at a minimum to increase a thank you note’s impact. Remember, being polite is a nice side benefit. The real purpose of your thank you note is to give you another opportunity to remind the interviewer why you would make a great employee for the company. To accomplish this, your thank you note should include:

  • Person’s name, spelled correctly
  • Write one to each person you talked to, no matter what level of the organization
  • Identify the hiring manager’s most important problem (that you can solve). If you don’t know the answer to this, you didn’t research deeply enough nor ask the right questions. Either way, if you don’t know the answer to this question, you’ve got no chance here – so learn and move on to the next target company.
  • Remind the hiring manager how you have already solved that problem. There’s an important distinction here … just saying you can solve the problem doesn’t inspire that much confidence. Giving an example of how you’ve already solved a similar problem delivers a high level of confidence. Also, if the problem you’ve already solved isn’t important to the hiring manager, again you’ll want to learn from your mistakes and move on – you’re probably not going to get hired because you can solve the problem of dull pencil tips.
  • Commonalities – If there was a common interest (fishing, golf) discussed in the interview, mention it (extremely short phrase) just to remind the interviewer who you were. If it wasn’t discussed, the thank you note isn’t a good place to bring it up.
  • Ask about next steps (or confirm next steps if defined during the interview). If these weren’t already defined by the end of the interview – shame on you. Here’s your chance to redeem yourself. Try to close the deal and ask what the next steps are.
  • Reaffirm interest – Stay short of asking for the job in a thank you note, but definitely let the company know you’re very interested in learning more.
  • Re-thank

There are many ways to write a thank you note. But each of these 3 ways has a specific purpose – Choose the one to help you in your specific situation.

Top 3 Ways To Write A Thank You Note:

  1. Fast: Email is the fastest acceptable way to thank your interviewer. Never text a thank you. A very few companies might find it favorable for you to send a direct Twitter message or a Facebook message (I wouldn’t try this unless the target company provides apps or services to Twitter/Facebook users). Email is fast, but it’s not very personal.
  2. Personal: A snail mailed thank you is more personal. A hand-written note is much more personal and worth the extra effort since very few candidates will hand write a thank you note. The problem with using snail mail for your thank you note is that it’s slow (Don’t try to speed it up via fax – it kills the personal effect). If your handwriting is difficult to read, print. If your handwriting is large, then use fewer words in your note, and use stationery instead of a card.
  3. Both Fast and Personal: Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too. When my clients really want to pull out all stops and give an opportunity their full effort, I recommend both sending an email and also sending snail mail. Sending both gives you the effect of fast as well as personal. Make sure the snail mailed note isn’t just a repeat of the email. Also, include an introductory line stating that while you emailed to be responsive, you also wanted to send a more personal note. Don’t worry, if you construct a succinct intro and don’t make the hand written note a repeat of the email, you won’t seem like a stalker, nor desperate.

How can you use a thank you note to seal the deal?


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