Once you're able to breathe a sigh of relief after leaving a job interview, it's not time to sit back and wait for the phone to ring just yet. The employer might still be trying to choose the best candidate, and a thank you note from you not only proves that you have manners, but can also be one last reminder that you're the best person for the job.
Write and send a thank you note as promptly as possible after your interview. Ideally, write the note on the same day as the interview to show the prospective employer that you tackle tasks without delay, or no later than two days after. If you find out immediately that you didn't get the position, Northeastern University advises writing the note anyway to develop a positive relationship with the contact, who may remember you when a suitable job opens up later.
An effective post-interview thank you note can serve dual purposes. Use the note to thank the prospective employer for meeting with you, but also take the opportunity to address additional qualifications that you didn't get a chance to discuss during the interview. Clarify details that might not have been clear during the interview and provide additional information that the interviewer may have requested.
Mail vs. Email
Given the conveniences of technology, it's tempting to send your thanks via email instead of snail mail, and many career advisers condone this practice. An emailed thank you message is ideal because it allows the prospective employer to receive and read your message quickly. If the employer is waiting for you to provide an answer to a question from the interview, snail mail will not suffice. Typed or handwritten letters are appropriate, too, if they are sent promptly.
Personalize the Message
Even if you've interviewed with a number of companies and find the prospect of writing individual thank you notes daunting, avoid the temptation to write one form letter and send it to each prospective employer. Personalize each note by mentioning a specific detail from the interview. This will reaffirm your interest in the company and convey your enthusiasm for working there. Bring up a topic that you discussed in the interview to refresh the interviewer's memory of you and to strengthen the connection you made.
- West Virginia University: Thank You for the Interview Letter Examples
- Virginia Tech University: After Interviews
- Northeastern University: Thank You Etiquette: Sample Letters, Notes and Emails
- University of California, Berkeley: Thank You Letters Following an Interview
- Duke University: Communicating with Potential Employers
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.