The Art of the Thank You Letter, Alive and Well

  • Posted by Steve Goldberg
  • |
  • November 2, 2016
thank you letter tips

After you have “nailed” the interview, you have to make the follow up set you apart. Thank you letters and emails are an absolute must, to state the obvious. This is especially true if you are in the digital media or media technology world, and even more so if you are in Sales, Account Management or Business Development. The bar is held high for those of us in the Digital world.

Case in point is the example of a Digital Account Executive: what kind of Digital seller would you be if you were not already in the habit of sending thank you notes and emails to your clients? The same goes for the job searching process (no matter your job title). It is important to recognize that what you are sending is a “thank you” AS WELL AS a note that expresses your strong interest and shows you have professional follow up habits.

Below are some tried and true tips to go by (or meetings, calls, Skypes, etc.):

  • Be sure to leave with the interviewer’s business card (or email if a call or Skype) so you have all their contact information.
  • Send your follow up via email within 24 hours of the interview, but ideally by the end of the day of the meeting. Carefully proofread/edit to insure proper spelling and grammar. 
  • Recap how your skills and experience make you an excellent fit for the role.
  • Be expressive, thoughtful and thorough. The thank you correspondence demonstrate that you have good manners and know to write a thank you letter. Keep the tone positive and appreciative. Be genuine in your appreciation. Write your thank-you note from the heart. Everyone values authentic communications so rather than using an unexciting thank you letter template from the Internet, use your own words and feelings to compose your letter, show appreciation and connect with the interviewer.
  • BUT…. Still be concise. You don’t want to write a novel.
  • Remember that writing style counts…companies view these follow ups from the perspective, “what would you send to a client, an outside company, or internally to a peer or executive?”
  • If the company expressed any doubts, weaknesses or concerns about your candidacy in the interview, use your follow up to address these in a positive way in terms of qualities, skills and/or experience that can help them overcome any objection.
  • In cases where you meet more than one person, personalize each note to some extent by referring to parts of the discussions you had during the meetings. Find a way to differentiate the thank you notes so that each person does not receive the same exact email.
  • ** Most important – reinforce your interest, enthusiasm and passion for the job and the company. A great way to show your enthusiasm is emphasizing something positive you discovered about the employer during the interview — or from your research. Another way is to give examples of what you would do in the job (an example, 2 examples, in the first 30 days, etc.).
  • Handwritten notes are unusual, but they can be effective when sent in conjunction with an emailed thank you. While saying ‘thank you’ in that initial email is critical, the beauty of a well-crafted handwritten note is that it can show a deeper investment and appreciation. The letter should be different than the email. There can be threads that are similar, but don’t repeat the same exact message. The hard copy letter can be a typed, professional letter or some like the hand-written notes. That personal touch can have you stand out and shows that you took the time to write a letter (a lost art for most).
  • If you find the need for a second follow up, to check in re: the status of your candidacy, make it light/no pressure, reiterate your interest and fit in a different way, and perhaps include a very recent interesting article you found about the company or the industry.
  • Use spell-check, but also read it, give it to someone else to read, and read it backwards (an old trick that forces you to focus on each word).

Thank you letters and emails are also important in other employment and recruitment-related situations. For example:

  • Informational interviews
  • Executive recruiters
  • A networking contact
  • Someone who helped you get a job
  • Speakers at industry events

Here is a basic letter you can use to personalize your message based on your specific interview, plus the tips mentioned above:

Dear Mr./Ms. [interviewer’s name],

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me for the position of [job title] on [date of interview].

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and gained a much better understanding of the role and responsibilities of the job. Since our meeting, I can’t stop thinking about ways in which I can contribute my experience to your [division, department, company, whatever is appropriate]. [Give an example.]

I hope that you agree that my experience is extremely relevant to your [job title] position. I am genuinely excited by the opportunity of working with you and [company’s name], and with this in mind I’d like to confirm my strong interest.

Please let me know if you need any more information from me, and what would be next in the interview process.

Thank you very much. Sincerely yours,

[your name/email/phone]

Here is another example:

Dear Mr./Ms. [interviewer’s name],

Thank you so much for talking with me today about the [job title] position in your division of [company name]. I was inspired by your knowledge of and dedication to the company.

I am positive that I have what it takes to bring the same kind of commitment and enthusiasm to your company. As I mentioned, it has long been a goal of mine to work at [company name]. My previous experience and my education have prepared me well for this position. I am very excited about this opportunity.

I would like to take the next step and discuss the position further with you, and perhaps with others you’ve designated as part of the interview process. I will contact you later this week to schedule a time when we can meet again at your convenience.

Again, thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,

[your name/email/phone]