How to Write Job Interview Thank You Letters.

One of the most important things to do after you interview with a company is to follow up with a thank you letter.  Thank you letters not only reinforce why you are the perfect fit for the job, but they also help to keep you in front of the Interviewer’s face.  Thank you for an interview letters can make the difference on if you get hired or not so it is not only important to send one, but you also need to think about how you send one.

In the last few decades the way that you are able to send thank you for an interview letters has changed pretty drastically.  Before the 1990’s when email became more popular, people would send a hand written letter.  Once more companies and people began using email for communications some people started to follow up with thank you emails to the interviewer instead of a hand written letter.

When creating your thank you for an interview letter you not only have to think about how you are going to send it, but you also have to think about what to include in it.  Some people talk about themselves in the letter and some people write a sweet note as a thank you.  Everyone has a different opinion of how to write and send a thank you for an interview letters.  This is mainly seen in the generation gaps as older people prefer hand written letters while younger generations may recommend sending an email because it is faster.  With everyone giving you different advice on how to write and send a job interview thank you letter, what is the right way for you to send out your interview thank you letter?

Lets go over 3 different types of thank you for the interview letters, things you may want to include in your thank you for the interview letter and then some of the things you may want to avoid doing.  This post is geared towards helping you make a better decision on which type of interview thank you letter may be the best one for you.  Please also feel free to leave a comment below with which ones you prefer and why you prefer them.

Snail Mail Letter.

The snail mail letter is probably the oldest way of saying thank you for an interview.  Although this one may be seen ass outdated and not one that I always recommend, it does serve a purpose and may be a decent option for you.

Because you are writing an entire letter and have a large sheet of paper to work with, you have more space to say what you want and cover multiple topics.  You are able to write larger and hopefully more legibly because of the large amount of available space and you are also able to include proper formatting.  The thing that you have to remember though is that even though you have the room to write everything you want, the person/people who interviewed you may be busy and not have time to read a giant letter.   If you write a 2 or 3 page thank you for the interview letter you may turn them off since they may not have time to read through the entire letter.  This could cause them to skim through the letter or ignore because of the amount of time it takes to read it.  The other negative side of these long letters is that if you write more than your main points of why they should hire you, the reasons why may get lost in all of the copy.  Try to keep your writing to a minimum and try not to ramble.  You may also want to try to keep the pages to a minimum and keep focused on what the reasons are that they should hire you based off of feedback and how the interview went.

Thank You Cards.

Thank You Cards are my personal favorite way to send a follow up thank you letter for an interview.  Not only can you buy designs that match your personality, but they are short, sweet and to the point.  They allow you to show that you have some class if you choose a nice one, not to mention that you take that extra step to add a personal touch because you actually took the time to hand write the interviewer/s a card.  Another great thing about thank you cards are their size.

Because thank you cards are normally pretty small, they cause you to really think about what you are writing and make you summarize your interview and why you are a good fit for the job you are applying for.  Not only does this make a short sweet and simple message for the interviewer to receive, but because there is no clutter or rambling it may be easier for the interviewer to remember the selling points from the card and not have them get lost in excess fluff and paragraphs.  One thing to remember with both thank you for the interview letters and thank you for an interview cards is when the person is looking to make a decision.

If the decision process is in a day or two you probably won’t have time to snail you’re your thank you letter.  Because mail can take a couple days to reach the interviewers, your letter may end up becoming a useless tool since the decision will be made before your letter arrives.  Then again, if they go with someone else and your card arrives after they have made the offer to the other person; if that person doesn’t work out then the card you sent may put you next in line for the job since the original person didn’t work out.

Thank You Emails.

I personally do not like these because they are not as personal as a hand written letter.  Many people enjoy getting a card in the mail and many other are much more impressed when they get a hand written card with a personalized message.  It can not only make people feel special but it can also show the interviewer that you take that extra step and that you are someone who may go that extra mile for the company.  Email unfortunately doesn’t do that because it isn’t in the person’s handwriting and doesn’t seem as friendly.  It does however make it so that you are able to get your thank you letter to the interviewer within seconds instead of days.

With snail mail you have to wait at least a few days or weeks if the letter or card gets lost.  It is important for you to gauge the interviewer so you know how to write your card or letter and to also know when they are going to be making a decision so you’ll know if you have time to snail mail your thank you letter or if email may be the best option.

If the decision is being made within a day or two than email is probably the best way to get your thank you letter to the interviewer since it can be delivered instantly.  If the interviewer seems more modern or like they may prefer everything via email, and you feel that they wouldn’t appreciate a hand written letter or card, than try sending an email instead of a card.  Not only can you better guarantee a quicker delivery but you may also get more of an idea of how the actual interview went.

The nice thing about thank you for an interview emails is that you may get a response from the interviewer.  You don’t always get responses to letters or cards because they can take a few days to send, and the interviewer would actually have to write and mail them.  Since all they have to do with email is hit reply, many interviewers will write a short message back.  By looking at how they phrase things you may get a better grasp on what they are thinking and how the interview went from their perspective.  This could be a key part in helping to calm your nerves about how you did and if you may have gotten the job or not.

Now that we have covered the three main types of thank you for an interview letters, lets go over what you may want to include and what you may want to avoid doing with your thank you for an interview cards, letters and emails.

  • Include two or three things that the interviewer covered as being important in the interview and why you are the perfect person for the job based on them.
  • If the interviewer said that there is a very important part of the company’s social atmosphere, tie in how you are a great addition socially to the company in your letter, card or email.
  • Send the letter the same day as the interview (If snail mailing, if emailing either the same day or next day).
  • You don’t want to ramble on and keep thanking the person over and over.  Thank them one time in the first sentence and then you have the option to thank them again in your signature line.  You don’t want to waste valuable space on the card or letter.
  • Following up with a thank you after you have already sent a card or followed up via phone, etc… is usually not good.  It makes you not only look desperate (which may effect the salary level they quote you at if they offer you the job) but you may also look like a stalker.  Nobody likes to be hounded and constantly calling may annoy the hiring manager and cost you the job instead of securing it.  A follow up call may be ok, depending on the company, and the thank you letter card or email is more than enough as a thank you for the interview.
  • Do not apologize or mention anything negative in the letter.  This is your last impression before the company and the interviewer/s make a decision.  Apologizing for being late, not dressing up, etc… not only takes room away from where you could be talking about and reinforcing why you are a great fit within their company, but it also leaves them with a negative memory instead of all of the positive things about yourself.  No matter how much you want to apologize, don’t do it because it could leave a bad memory or a negative last impression when they are evaluating everyone and making a decision.

When a hiring manager is trying to make a final decision on who to hire and cannot decide between two candidates, sometimes the candidate who remembered to hand write or send a thank you for the interview letter is the one who gets the job.  Thank you for an interview cards, letters and emails are key parts of the interviewing process since they leave the last impression of you on the hiring manager.  They enable you to reinforce why you are the perfect fit for the job and they are something that you need to remember to send after your interview.  Thank you for an interview letters can make the difference on if you get the job or not, especially if it is between you and one other person.  If you are the one who remembers to send a hand written thank you letter that could be what gets you the job over the other candidate.

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