How to Write a Thank You Note

— Jun 4, 2013 —

Sending thank you notes after an interview is considered good business etiquette. While the habit seems to be dying, it hasn’t completely flat-lined yet.  Thank you notes, when written well, can reinforce a positive view of your candidacy to a hiring manager.

Sample Thank You Note

Here are steps to take to craft the perfect thank you note.

Remember to obtain a business card from the person/people you met with during the interview process.

It’s unlikely that a hiring manager fails to provide you with his/her business card, but be prepared to ask for it just in case.  With the business card in your possession, you are now equipped with:

  • Proper spelling of his/her name
  • Job title as recognized by the company
  • Email address (so you know where to send the thank you note!)
  • Social media handles to aid in your research about the job, company and culture

Start with a proper greeting.

Always begin with “Dear Ms./Mr.”  Some may say this is old-fashioned, but employers would prefer a candidate who is more conservative over a candidate who is too casual or familiar.  You are sending a thank you note to someone who you respect, and you want them to know that. 

Sincerely express your gratitude.

Generic-sounding or templated thank you notes are rarely memorable and always obvious.  “Thank you for meeting with me today,” sounds robotic and is so over-used that it’s lost its punch.  Pay attention to special projects or campaigns, performance goals or company events the interviewer mentions during an interview for clues about what to say.  If an interviewer didn’t drop any hints, research the company to be able to reference something on your own, but be sure it is both relevant and appropriate. 

Discuss the business.

Don’t do your research simply for the sake of including buzz words into your thank you note that you think will “wow” the hiring manager.  Companies appreciate employees who can look to the future and add real value to their business.  Mention a skill you possess that would contribute to the movement.  For example (once you’ve referenced the expansion project), “I previously managed an intense calendar for an executive who travelled often through different time zones.  While the task proved to be challenging, I always felt accomplished knowing that all meetings were attended without any delays.”

Form a deeper connection.

Why do you want to work for them? Don’t go through a list of qualifications, or even skills.  You mentioned those both in the interview and briefly in the thank you note (see “Discuss the Business”).  Instead, turn to their mission statement and zero in on what the company values.  “The opportunity to work with a company who values leadership and innovation is very exciting,” or, “Philanthropy is a value that I hold very dear, so the opportunity to work with a company that also recognizes its importance is one that I look forward to.”

Thank them again.

There’s no such thing as too much gratitude.  A simple, “thank you again for meeting with me today,” will suffice.

Sign off.

The sign off should be professional and personal, but not job related.  The best interviews are conversations, so mention something that came up in passing.  “The address for the restaurant we briefly discussed is,” or even something simple like the weather, “Stay dry this weekend!”  While hiring managers appreciate feeling authoritative and respected, they’re people, too. 

Send off

Remember to send the thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.  There are several ways of going about the thank you note process:

  • You can write the whole note in the body of an email.  Remember to include appropriate spacing and spell check it before you hit send.
  • You can write the email as a Word document in the form of a letter and email it as an attachment.

Use your judgment.  If you interviewed for a position which will require a lot of correspondence via email, send it as an email and prove you can complete a task like this.  If you interviewed for a position that will require proficiency in computer applications, compose the thank you note as a letter, and send it as an attachment.

Click on the image above for a sample thank you note.

 

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