This is the one thing that most people forget to do (or do poorly)
If you’re in the midst of a job search or recently went through one, you’ll know first-hand how competitive the job market is.
No longer is it “good enough” to have a killer résumé.
You’ve got an equally impressive and custom-branded Linkedin profile and cover letter, and perhaps a one-page networking document.
You know how important it is to communicate what your value is, so you created and practiced your short elevator pitch that hooks the listener in a few seconds.
You’ve nailed some interviews as a result of being able to express your value verbally and in writing.
You know how to answer behavioural and situational questions because you created and practiced your long value proposition statement.
Congratulations! You’re probably a lot farther ahead than most people.
But don’t get too comfortable – you’re not done yet! There’s one other milestone that you need to meet that always seems to be an after-thought – if anyone thinks about it at all.
This is no longer an option but a necessity and can make the difference between getting the job or being taken out of the running.
Why a thank you note is such a big deal
By today’s standards, a post-interview thank you note goes way beyond just being a social courtesy. It’s another opportunity to SELL YOURSELF for the job. Think of it like a follow up sales letter.
A well-crafted thank you note:
- Gives you another chance to set yourself apart from your competitors as a strong fit for the role
- Reminds the employer of who you were (they may have interviewed multiple candidates and are now fuzzy on the details)
- Demonstrates that you understand the job, you can do the job, and you will do the job if they were to hire you
- Reinforces what your specific and unique value is that you can bring to the table
- Reiterates your genuine desire in the position and that you are committed to the job search process (i.e. you’re not wasting anyone’s time)
Thank you letter tips
Don’t just slap something together at the last minute and fire it off. A poor thank you letter is about as bad or maybe even worse than sending none at all.
It must be well thought out and well written, free of errors, and strategic in nature.
- Limit it to one page broken down into short paragraphs.
- Thank the person/persons for meeting with you and giving you the opportunity to present yourself.
- Remind them of the position you interviewed for.
- Include the name of the employer and the target job title at least once. This personalizes the letter so it’s less “generic” sounding.
- Mention one or two key points you discussed during the meeting to reinforce your candidacy.
- Showcase your areas of expertise that the employer is seeking and where you can demonstrate specific “wins”.
- Include a few bullet points that reiterate your key contributions that are relevant to the position and show the kind of value you can duplicate for their organization.
- Ideally, you want to end with some kind of call to action. You could state that you will follow up with them on specific date. It shows you mean business.
When to send the thank you note
I think it’s best to email the thank you note within a 24 hour period so that you are still “fresh” in the employer’s mind.
If your interview ended before noon, you could send it late afternoon when they might see it before they leave work.
If the interview ended in the afternoon, you could send the note that evening so that it ends up in the inbox first thing in the morning.
To whom do you send it?
If you were interviewed by one person, then you will send the note to that one person.
If there were multiple interviewers present during a panel-type meeting, you can send the note to the one “main” person and then c.c. everyone else.
If you met with different people at different times, you should send a different note to each person. You don’t have to completely re-write it but make sure you refer to specific things you discussed with that particular individual to personalize the note.
Snail mail or email?
Now, if it’s an exploratory meeting like an informational meeting and there isn’t a job opening, you could send a physical letter by snail mail. It would probably get noticed because, let’s face it, who gets mailed a letter anymore? Usually It’s bills or junk mail.
But if the employer is actively seeking to fill an actual job vacancy, you’ve got a 24 hour window to follow up, so you will need email the note.
The problem with email is that it could get missed in a full inbox and also end up in the junk/spam folder.
It might be a good idea to also send the thank you note to the interviewer’s Linkedin account to ensure they get it but make sure to mention off the top that it’s a duplicate and you wanted to make sure they got it. You don’t want to come across as desperate or stalking them.
The anatomy of a thank you note
As I already mentioned, the note should be no more than one page and be broken down into short and distinct paragraphs so that it is easy to read.
Paragraph #1 – The Introduction
Thank the person for giving you the opportunity to meet with them about the position.
Refer to the target job title and the name of the employer.
Confirm your interest in the position but it would be better to mention your “why” to give it more punch.
Paragraph #2 – Communicate the Solution
Refer to what the employer told you what they are struggling with and the kind of solutions they are seeking by mentioning one or two specific key points you discussed during the meeting.
Show how your expertise in A, B, and C (your hard/soft skills) can deliver proven solutions that will achieve X, Y, and Z (desired end results)
Paragraph #3 – Show the Evidence
Include some bullet points of specific accomplishments that are quantifiable and which show the kind of value you can deliver that is relevant to the position.
- Achievement #1
- Achievement #2
- Achievement #3
- Achievement #4
Paragraph #4 – Reinforce the Fit
Reinforce there is a fit between what they need and what you have to offer. It’s important to “connect the dots” so that the reader can clearly see that you are a potential solution to their problem.
Draw attention to something else that solidifies your candidacy such as additional education, skills, knowledge, experience you bring to the table or something else that is relevant and addresses their job requirements.
Paragraph #5 – Wrap It Up
Reiterates your interest in the position and that you would like to move forward in the process.
You should also include a “call to action” such as saying that you will follow up with them within a specific time line.
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I leverage over 10 years recruitment and sales/marketing experience to create attention-grabbing résumés, cover letters, and Linkedin profiles that help job seekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired. You can learn more about my story here and about how I can help you here.
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