You’ve sent in your resume, nabbed the first interview—and you nailed it. The next step: writing a killer thank you letter.
Your thank you letter is one of your last chances to sell yourself to potential employers. However, just sending any thank you letter isn’t enough. You need to send one that stands out and sticks in the mind of the employer. It’s all part of personal branding!
In your opinion, is this a memorable—or sincere—thank you letter?
Dear marketing manager,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me last week. I really enjoyed learning more about your company and I would love the chance to work with your team. I look forward to hearing more from you regarding the position.
The letter above offers nothing specific or memorable about the candidate. In addition to thanking the interviewer(s) for their time, a well-written thank you letter should reinforce your interest in—and qualification for—the position. It should also portray a level of professionalism and consideration for the interviewer.
Here are some tips for writing a great thank you letter:
Contact Information and Greeting
Include your contact information, as well as the interviewer’s, in your thank-you letter. Address your letter “Dear Mr./Ms. + first and last name.” Follow the greeting with a colon.
Get their business card at the interview and use it to double check the spelling of their name before sending the letter.
Body of Letter
Remind them. Restate the position applied for and date of the interview.
Thank your interviewer. Obviously, you want to thank them for taking time out to meet with you. Show enthusiastic, genuine appreciation. Answer the question: Why was the interview great?
Be specific. Mention something memorable from your interview. You could pose a follow-up thought to a discussion. Also, briefly reiterate your key qualifications, but make them specific to topics discussed in the interview. Use your thank you letter to address any issues that were raised in the interview regarding your candidacy.
Closing. Extend one last thank you to the interviewer, and restate your interest in the company. If you left the interview with a set follow-up date, let them know you look forward to hearing from them in that time frame. If they didn’t offer a follow-up date, you can propose a specific date to call.
“Sincerely” is the standard closing. If you are typing your letter, always leave at least four returns between closing and your typed name to sign it.
A Few More Tips
Follow-up promptly. Send your thank you letters within a day or two of your interview.
Length. Thank you letters should be about a page.
Hand-written, typed or e-mailed? Most people believe it depends on the interviewer, organization, and field of business. From my interview experience, hand-written notes sent via traditional mail are appropriate. Typing a letter on professional stationary and sending it via traditional mail works well, too. Use your discretion based on the organization’s formality.
Use business format. Thank-you letters can be somewhat personal in tone, but they should appear professional. No squiggles, doodles, smiley’s. No room for sloppiness. Have contact information clearly stated. Single return after each paragraph.
Every hiring manager has slightly different preferences, so like any step in the interview process, use your discretion when writing your thank you letter.
Cassie is a May 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison Ag Journalism graduate. She recently unfolded her passion for public relations during her short stint as a PR consultant for a Madison, Wis. area non-profit and is looking to dive into the field professionally. Find Cassie on Twitter, BrazenCareerist, and LinkedIn.