One of the most underutilized job-hunting tools, the thank you letter when properly wielded packs a mean wallop.
So you thought you’ve done all you can, after going through the interview, and all you can do now is sit and wait.
Not so. You still have one potent weapon in your marketing arsenal to help tilt the odds in your favor: The thank you letter. According to the experts, less than 10 percent of interviewees bother to send one after the interview, not knowing what a great sales opportunity they’ve missed.
The thank you letter serves an array of purposes, all intending to make you look good. Among these are:
- To portray you as courteous and professional.
- To help you stand above the crowd.
- To give you an opportunity to restate your good points.
- To allow you to state important facts not said during the interview.
Points to Remember
So if you haven’t moved beyond first base in the interview process, the thank you letter may just be the missing key. In writing the letter, it is best to keep these guidelines in mind:
- Send your letter promptly-preferably within the first couple of days and no later than a week after the interview.
- Address it to a specific person, and make sure you got the name right.
- Keep it brief: A short page of two or three paragraphs will do.
- Preferably, type your letter, following the standard business letter format.
- Use the letter to reiterate your interest in the job and give a summary of your related skills and qualifications.
- Leverage this opportunity to mention important information left out during the interview. This is your chance to make up if you flubbed your answers.
- Customize your letter. You don’t need to draft a different letter for each company, but do tailor the content to the interviewer’s particular interests and concerns.
- Proofread for misspellings, typos and grammatical boo-boos.
Parts of a Thank You Letter
A thank you letter should contain the following:
First paragraph. Convey how much you enjoyed and appreciated the meeting, and make some positive remarks about the company.
Second paragraph. Let the interviewer know you’re still keen on getting the position. Reiterate your strengths and mention pertinent or new information that you failed to bring up during the interview.
Closing paragraph. Inform the interviewer that you would appreciate hearing from him or her again, and indicate your willingness to come in for a second interview.
Thank You by E-mail
Ideally, thank you letters should be typewritten on clean, high-quality bond paper and delivered by post or courier. But most experts agree that e-mailed thank you letters are now also acceptable. E-mail enables you to send your message instantaneously, which could play a big role if the employer needs to make a quick hiring decision. If possible, follow up your e-mail with a hard copy.
Just like the printed letter, the e-mail version should be short and to the point -- ideally one screen length. It should also adhere to professional business letter standards. In particular, steer clear of informal language devices such as:
- Emoticons (smiling faces, sad faces)
- Lower-case first-person pronouns (i, i’ve, i’ll)
- Lower-case first letter of a sentence
- Shorthand and telegraphic sentences (Sending you more details...)
- Acronyms (BTW for by the way, ASAP for as soon as possible, TIA for thanks in advance)