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The Thank You Letter
The interviewe went well, but don’t forget the follow up! Some tips on writing thank you letters that show you are courteous, professional and well-suited for the job.
The job interview went well and now the ball is entirely in the employer’s court; all that is left for you to do is to sit back and wait for their decision. Right? Wrong. You still have an important opportunity to communicate with the employer and up your chances of staying clearly on the radar screen and ultimately securing the job of your dreams through a timely and well-written thank you letter.
The thank you letter is a welcome and necessary follow-up to any job interview and should be sent out immediately following the interview, within one or two days if possible, while the interview is fresh in your mind and you are still fresh in the employer’s mind. Don’t worry if after reading this article you realize that your thank you letter is now late. Better a mildly delayed one than no thank you letter at all.
If you have interviewed with several people, make sure you send one to each of the interviewers. Make sure to get the correct spelling of their names and their correct titles and addresses either from their business cards if they handed them out or by way of a simple phone call to the company.
Beside making you more memorable to the employer and separating you from the fray of candidates who didn’t have the thoughtfulness to follow up, the thank you letter can be used to demonstrate energy and perseverence, sell yourself all over again, rectify any sins of omission as well as to clear up any misconceptions that may have occurred during the interview. Follow these basic guidelines in building your thank you letter:
- Thank the employer sincerely for his/her time during the interview and say that it was a pleasure to meet with him/her. Everyone prefers a courteous employee and beside showing good manners, civility and business etiquette, the gesture will increase your professionalism ratings with the employer and with those your chances of landing the job.
- Mention the exact position you interviewed for and the date of the interview to avoid any confusion.
- Mention something specific you learned during the interview or a key conversation point to indicate you were fully attentive and in accord with the interviewer.
- Reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and the company and sum up your skills and points of strength as they directly relate to the demands of the position. Mention any past experience, achievements and accomplishments that are directly relevant to your ability to contribute and excel in this job. Bring to the fore any skills or accomplishments that you may not have had the opportunity to present during the interview but which you believe support your application and directly impact your chances of securing the job.
- Clear up any suspected misunderstandings that may have occurred during the interview but do NOT elaborate on weaknesses. If you think the employer may have misconstrued something you said, here is the time to rectify the matter. However, key errors, blunders or weaknesses highlighted in the interview should not be revisited in the thank you letter as that will only magnify them. If you arrived very late, arrived with baby in tow or did a superb job of highlighting all your weaknesses during the interview resist the temptation to revisit these issues and concentrate instead communicating your points of strength and how you can be a welcome and productive addition to the team.
- Keep the letter brief, crisp and professional and avoid exaggeration, sentimentality, overfamiliarity and excessive enthusiasm. Check for typos, grammar mistakes and any glaring factual errors as a bad thank you letter may prove worse than no thank-you letter at all.
- If you would like to really impress the interviewer, send along with your thank you letter a compelling news article or other addendum that relates to something specific you discussed during the interview and analyses or illustrates in an interesting way the most cutting edge events in the industry, company and/or competitive landscape.
(NOTE: Would you like to know the BIGGEST CV mistake you can make? Find out plus the Top 8 Ways To Make Your CV Stand Out.)
With any luck your thank-you letter will highlight just the right information that the employer needed to cement his case for hiring you and your next contact with him/her will be to discuss your offer letter and negotiate the terms.
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