5 tips for writing a post-interview thank-you note
It may seem old-fashioned, but when it comes to a job interview, the follow-up thank-you note is still very much in style. According to a 2011 survey by CareerBuilder, more than 20 percent of employers are less likely to hire you if you don’t send a thank-you note.
But what’s the best way to handle a thank-you in the digital age? Here are five tips, according to Jim Lipot, human resources consultant and instructor in the MBA program for the University of Phoenix Southern California Campus, for sending a follow-up thank-you note:
Consider your source.
Before you decide whether to send via email or snail mail, consider the recipient, Lipot advises. If it’s a traditional company, and the hirer isn’t making a decision in the next 48 hours, Lipot suggests dropping a letter in the mail.
“Taking the trouble to actually handwrite a letter, which thanks someone for their time, will make you stand out, and show that you are serious about the job,” Lipot says.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with an Internet company, the hirer may consider a paper letter outdated, in which case you should go electronic. “You’ve got to make the thank-you appropriate to the person,” Lipot says.
Recap your qualifications.
In addition to thanking your interviewer, you should make a point to highlight your qualifications in a sentence or two.
“It’s another way for you to reinforce the fact that you are someone they should be interested in — without being arrogant — and get your skills in front of them one more time,” Lipot says.
Mention the company’s mission.
Employers want to know where you can add value to what they are already doing, Lipot says. To make a strong impression, he suggests adding something in your note about the company’s mission and tying it into your background. “Tell them you want to be part of their mission,” Lipot says, “and why.”
Send both an email and a letter.
When there is time to follow up with both an immediate email and a handwritten letter, that’s your best bet, Lipot says, because staying in touch shows how enthusiastic you are about the job.
“If you do send a second communication,” Lipot advises, “you could start your follow-up with, ‘I just want to again say thank you, and I’m sending this in writing because I wanted you to know how great it was to meet you.’”
Provide new information.
After leaving the interview, you may have thought of additional details that demonstrate how your qualifications match the position.
“We’ve all had those ‘seat of the pants’ moments,” Lipot says, “where your rear gets into the seat of the car and you go, ‘Oh shoot, I forgot to tell them about …’” A thank-you note, he explains, is an opportunity to express yourself more poignantly after you’ve had time to reflect.