A debate continues about whether thank you letters, or in most cases, emails, are still relevant in today’s high-tech, fast-paced job climate. The simple answer is, yes, and will continue to be yes for the foreseeable future. If you are in the digital media or media tech world, it’s definitely still very important. If you’re in Sales, Account Management or Business Development, a thank you letter is a must.
Case in point is an 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? In an interview, this is essentially the last touchpoint for each interview you have for you to close the sale (on yourself). It is important to recognize that what you are sending is a “thank you for meeting with me,” AS WELL AS a note that expresses your strong interest in the role. It also shows you have professional follow up habits.
So how do you write a thank you email for today’s job seeker? 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 (including if that falls on a weekend), 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—try to pick out one or two specific needs that were identified during the interview, and mention how your particular skills and experience can fulfill those needs.
- Be expressive, thoughtful and thorough. The thank you correspondence demonstrates that you have good manners and know how 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, what you might do in the first 30 days, etc.).
- Handwritten notes are unusual, especially in this technological age, 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 of the letter can be 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/or 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 thank you letter/email template 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,