Sending a thank-you email after a job interview is similar to sending a thank-you note after a rocking party -- it shows that you’re grateful for the experience, and you’re gracious enough to say so. Never underestimate the importance of good manners, personally or professionally. Keep the note short and sweet; the email should consist of two to three paragraphs, containing no more than three sentences each, according to "Forbes" magazine.
As Soon As Possible
Send your thank-you email within 24 hours of your job interview for two important reasons -- you want to remain prominent in the interviewer’s memory, and you want to convey that you’re still enthusiastic about the position before she gets friendly with another candidate. Send the email as soon as you get home (or to a computer), while the details of your exchange are still fresh in your mind.
Regardless of the rapport you have with your interviewer, address your email formally: "Dear [First Name], [Last Name]." Do not use "Hey," or her first name only, even if she told you to call her by her first name in the interview. Make sure her name is spelled correctly. If you aren't sure, don't guess. Look online at the company directory, or find her on Facebook or LinkedIn. If all else fails, call the company receptionist.
Say Thank You
It seems pretty obvious, but "Thanks" should be in the first sentence of your thank-you email. There are many ways you can word your appreciation so it sounds a little more sophisticated, such as, “Thank you for meeting with me,” “Thank you for sharing so much information about the company” or “I truly appreciated your time.” You should also express enjoyment and enthusiasm about the meeting, for instance, “I enjoyed speaking with you and learning more about the position. I’m really excited about this opportunity.”
Play It Back
In the second paragraph of your thank-you email, reiterate a specific attribute that the interviewer mentioned was required for the position, and address how you can meet this need. Not only does this show you were listening, but it also emphasizes how and why you’re perfect for the job. Reiterate your most marketable qualifications, and discuss special skills that you think set you apart from other candidates. Maybe you’re super patient because you’ve worked with learning disabled kids, or you’re trilingual, or you have a background in public speaking that means you’d be good at leading meetings and training. Emphasize what makes you special.
In your closing paragraph, thank your potential employer once more for the interview. Indicate that you’re hopeful the job is yours. For instance, “Perhaps we can follow up on the interview later this week? I’m available to start as soon as Monday.” Include your contact information as well, so you can be easily reached.
Before Hitting Send
Reread your email. Proofread it for typos and grammatical errors. Check the tone of the letter -- it should be professional, and not overly familiar. You want to sound confident, yet humble; assertive, but not desperate.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.