You just completed an interview for a job that you really want. You think it went really well and you can’t wait to hear back from the company. However, you are now concerned about whether or not you should send a thank you letter- you are torn. On the one hand, you think a thank you note will leave a really good impression. However, your next-door neighbor told you that thank you letters aren’t necessary anymore because no one does them. What do you do? YOU SEND ONE.
Why You Should Send Thank You Letters
For starters, it is not surprising that your next-door neighbor gave you that advice. In a recent survey, it was found that only 24% of HR managers receive thank you letters from applicants after completing an interview. Since most job applicants don’t send a thank you letter, most people will tell you that you don’t have to do it.
How beneficial are thank you letters? To be honest, the answer isn’t always clear. I usually tell people that thank you letters are very similar to cover letters. It is very true that a large number of applicants are still offered jobs despite not submitting a thank you letter. In the end, the most important factors of you receiving a job offer are your resume, your qualifications and how you perform in an interview. If you don’t successfully complete the other hurdles, even the best written thank you letter isn’t going to save you.
However, similar to the cover letter, I still encourage all job applicants to send a thank you letter after completing any interview. This includes phone, video and an in-person interviews. The business case for it is simple. The same survey that I referenced above also found that 80% of HR managers believe that thank you letters are helpful in evaluating candidates. Similarly to what I said about cover letters in my previous post, “Cover Letter Tips: How To Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out”, if you are serious about the job you have applied for, then you have to do everything in your power to make your job application standout.
Sending a thank you note demonstrates that you have good follow up skills and that you really want the job. It is also very courteous as you are showing how grateful you are that the hiring manager took time out of their busy day to interview you. Although most people will tell you that writing a thank you letter is a waste of time, at least you will have a peace of mind knowing that you gave that job application your all. Furthermore, writing a thank you letter is much easier than writing a cover letter. It isn’t that tedious at all as it is brief in nature.
Email vs. Paper Thank You Letters
While writing a paper thank you letter is nice because it shows you took the extra time to write it out and go to the post office, it is unnecessary. The above referenced survey found that 65% of thank you letters are sent via email and that 94% of HR managers believe that email thank you notes are appropriate. Furthermore, you really want to ensure that the hiring manager receives your thank you note within 24 hours so that they have it prior to making a final hiring decision. Additionally, it is not a good use of your time or money to consistently be sending out hand written thank you notes every time after you interview. You should be spending that extra time either applying for jobs or networking.
Since I suggest that you send all of your thank you notes via email, always be sure to get the email address of each person you interviewed with at the conclusion of the interview. You can do it by saying “May I please ask for each of your email addresses so that I can follow up with a thank you note?” I know this may seem obvious. However, this is something that can easily be forgotten.
How To Write Thank You Letters
The next question is “What is a good thank you letter format?” While there is a ton of advice out there on this topic, the answer is easy. Keep it simple! You don’t need to write encyclopedia. It should only take you 15 minutes to write a thank you letter.
Begin by addressing the hiring manager. Then you are going to write 1-2 sentences thanking the hiring manager for their time. Always make sure to include the exact position you applied for and the name of the company. This makes it feel less generic. Below is an example of an introduction paragraph that I used in a thank you note for a job that I ended up getting.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me today for the (insert title) position. This opportunity gave me a preview into the rewarding work that is performed at (insert company name).”
Next, you want to state how comfortable you felt with the team and why you feel like you would be a strong fit for the team. This section is typically 2-4 sentences. Some people like to get detailed and start to reference specific skill sets they have that will help them succeed in the role. I personally don’t think it is necessary. That is why I usually keep my thank you letters very high level. Below is an example of my organizational fit paragraph that I used in a thank you note for a job that I ended up getting.
“I felt a wonderful rapport with you and the entire (insert name of department) department. I am more convinced than ever that I would be a superb fit as a member of the team and contribute my skills and knowledge for the benefit of (insert company name).”
Lastly, you want to conclude the letter by stating that your available for any further conversations and by thanking them one last time.
Below is an example of my conclusion paragraph that I used in a thank you note for a job that I ended up getting.
“I can make myself available for any further discussions of my qualifications that may be required. Ms. (insert name of interviewer), I appreciate you and your staff taking so much time to talk with me about this exciting opportunity.”
In conclusion, while most people will tell you that you don’t have to send a thank you letter, it is still an important piece of applying for a job and many hiring managers find it helpful in the candidate evaluation process.