You did everything right to prepare for the job interview. You researched your potential employer, read and re-read the job description and practiced answers to possible questions. Your work was rewarded — you nailed the meeting. Now, you’re just waiting for the call to hear if you got the job.
Hold on a minute — did you remember to write a thank you note to the interviewer?
Thank you notes are not just something you learned about in elementary school. They’re still an important part of the job interview process.
In fact, one survey showed that 22 percent of employers are less likely to offer a job to interviewees who skip the thank you step.
You’re doing more than being grateful for the meeting. The extra step reinforces your interest in the position – over 55 percent of employers think sending a note shows a potential hire is serious about the job.
Convinced? Here are eight tips that’ll help you write a knockout note:
1. Send an Email and a Card
It takes a little more time, but send both an email and a snail-mail card. A thank you email after an interview will reach your target quickly, which is essential if the decision has a quick turnaround time.
A mailed note sets you apart from the crowd. Only about 20 percent of job candidates follow through with this step.
Use a traditional fold-over note card with a nondescript front. You don’t want to be remembered for being goofy or cutesy.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Think about what you want to say ahead of time and then write drafts for both the email and note card. This is the time to make mistakes and scribble out words. Final copies should be perfect. The two messages will be similar, but they shouldn’t be identical.
A special tip for the email: Don’t type in the recipient’s address until you’re sure the email is perfect. That way you won’t accidentally send one that’s incomplete or riddled with mistakes.
3. Write Right
Thank you messages don’t have to be long, but they must be error-free. Proofread, proofread, proofread — then proofread again.
It might help to read it out loud, too, and if there is time, ask someone else to check it.
If you let grammatical or spelling mistakes slip by, your interviewer is justified in doubting your abilities. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills, especially if the job calls for written contact with co-workers and clients.
4. Reference Specific Details From the Interview
In addition to thanking your interviewer, your thank you note should also reference the interview. You’re trying to separate yourself from the masses, remember?
Mention a topic that came up during the discussion, fix any mistakes or omissions and emphasize your interest in the job.
This means you can’t write the note ahead of time, but you can craft a sample thank you note for after your interview. Nail your formatting and the simplicity while still getting your point across — just don’t send the note.
5. Keep It Short and Sweet
Keep the thank you letter after the job interview short. Take some time to reflect on the meeting. The notes you took will refresh your memory.
Make sure you mention the exact name of the position. This prevents confusion if multiple jobs are open at the company.
Use the first paragraph to say thank you for the interview. Express appreciation for the individual’s time and attention. This person carved out time in a busy day just for you. Acknowledge anything special the interviewer did to put you at ease.
In the second paragraph, briefly highlight your best moments. Be specific. Make yourself memorable among the job candidates. Remind the interviewer why you’re right for the position.
Did you walk out of the interview thinking you could have done better? Add another section if a comment needs clarification or if you omitted information, like where to find your portfolio online. Finish by restating your interest in the position.
Be professional throughout the note. You can show enthusiasm without gushing.
6. Get It Sent off Soon
Send the email soon after the interview, but don’t rush the writing process. Mail the card within 24 hours. Procrastinating dulls the effect and may miss the hiring deadline.
7. Send a Note to Everyone You Interviewed With
If you met with multiple interviewers, you need to write multiple notes. All participants deserve a personal thank you for their time. Make sure you write down each name and job title, or, better yet, collect business cards. If you forget this step — you’re probably a little nervous, after all — go to the company’s website and look people up.
Do not simply copy the same note over and over. Personalize them. Mention a remark each interviewer added to the conversation. This way, you make individual connections with everyone who is going to judge you. Also, if the interviewers happen to share the notes, you’ll look better if they’re not carbon copies.
8. Handwrite Your Card
In this age of computers, it’s easy to type up a note to send out — and that’s great. Handwriting, however, is more personal because it takes more time.
That’s the message you want to send: The interview was so important to me that I took the time to find an actual pen.
If your handwriting is illegible, though, type away.
Even if you’ve decided you don’t want the job, send a thank you note. You’re not selling yourself for the position. You’re being polite. This makes a good impression, which might come in handy. Ask the interviewer to keep you in mind for other openings.
After you walk out of an interview, take a few minutes to write an interview thank you email and note. It won’t hurt a bit, and it might be the finishing touch that clinches you the job.