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Writing an Interview Thank You Letter

You're back from a job interview and after answering all those questions, you're exhausted.  The good news is that ordeal is behind you, the bad news is the process isn't over yet.  To really make a good impression, it's time to sit down and start writing a thank you letter.

Just like a resume and job interview, a thank you letter provides one more opportunity to make a good impression before a hiring decision is made.  Too many job candidates make the mistake of thinking that writing a letter is optional; it's not.

Interview Thank You Letters

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In fact, studies suggest that less than 10% of all job candidates follow up with an interview thank you letter.  That's good news, because it provides a chance to separate from the rest of the pack.

It's doubtful someone would make a hiring decision based solely on receiving a thank you note.  But, that's not to say it wouldn't be used as a "tie-breaker."  The point here is this:  regardless of the success in getting a job, the letter leaves the hiring manager with a good impression, and that can come in handy.

Format

When writing an interview thank you letter, the format to use includes three components:

  1. Start off by thanking the interviewer for taking the time, and providing the opportunity to speak with them directly.  This section will be personalized by providing information unique to the meeting.
  2. Next, express an interest in working for the company, and specifically in the job that's open.  This section can also be customized to something that was said, or something that happened during the actual interview.
  3. Finally, close out the thank you letter by reiterating an appreciation for the meeting; offer to provide additional information if they have any questions, and tell the interviewer that you're looking forward to hearing back from them on a decision.

Don't oversell yourself in the letter; the format used here is clean and to the point.

Recipients

If the meeting was held with several members of the hiring company, then send out multiple thank you letters.  It's not necessary to send a note to everyone you met.  But anyone that took a significant amount of time out of their busy schedule deserves this courtesy.

Hand-Written Letters

In nearly all instances, a hand written letter is not necessary.  We live in the world of personal computers.  Unless a hand written thank you is in order because of the culture of the company, or the nature of the job opening, a typewritten letter is just fine.

Emailed Letters

Unless the urgency of the decision or culture of the company dictates an emailed thank you letter, drop it in the U.S. mail instead.  Emails are convenient to send, and that's part of the problem.  They are also perceived as being far less personal.

If a decision is going to be made right away, email the thank you that same day and follow up with a letter sent through the U.S. mail.

Timing

The letter should be composed as soon as possible following the interview itself, preferably the same day.  This is done for two reasons.  The first has to do with simply demonstrating to the interviewer a willingness to take the time to write the letter right away.

The second reason has to do with memory; write the letter while the experience is still fresh.

Proofreading the Note

Just because the letter is being sent immediately doesn't mean it's time to take shortcuts.  The thank you note is going to be read by the hiring manager or recruiter, and it may be the final impression left with that person before they make a hiring decision.

The last thing you want to do is send out a letter with spelling mistakes or grammatical errors; have a trusted friend proofread it before mailing.

Interview Thank You Letter Examples

Now that we've covered what to include, and when to send it out, we're going to help you get started by providing several sample letters.  As always, these samples are free to download, and written in Microsoft Word.

The below links provide illustrations of three interview thank you letters, each tailored to a slightly different purpose:


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