As a kid, you were probably forced to spend time writing up thank you notes after you received birthday presents or graduation gifts. While the chore may have seemed unnecessary at the time, it’s a skill that you shouldn’t abandon as you get older and begin a job hunt. Though thank you notes (and snail mail in general) are on the decline, in business, thank you notes are still alive and well.
Why send a thank you note?
It’s likely that a hiring manager is interviewing anywhere from a handful to dozens of other candidates for a job. As time passes, your own interview conversation may begin to blend in with the others, preventing you from sticking out in that individuals’ mind. However, when the interviewer receives a thank you note or thank you e-mail from you, it helps to remind them what they found impressive about you during your talk. It also further emphasizes your interest in the position, and reinforces the positive impressions that you earned during your interview.
The dos and don’ts
Now that you know the importance of the thank you note or e-mail, it’s time to get writing. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you put pen to paper:
- Don’t treat it as a requirement: The point of a thank you note is to show your interest in the position, while helping to reinforce the positive traits you illustrated during your interview. Writing a note that seems as if your mom is over your shoulder nagging you does neither of these things. Instead of writing a generic “thank you so much for your time” and signing off, make reference to the conversation you had. This shows that you were really paying attention and were engaged. While you technically are thanking the interviewer for their time, the purpose of the note is also to show how a business partnership between the two of you would be beneficial. If the individual informed you of something about the company that you didn’t know before, bring this up again. You can also reinforce the traits you feel you could bring to the position. Make sure to list the exact position you’re applying for too, in case the person reading needs some help jogging their memory.
- Don’t send gifts: Some candidates believe that a bouquet of flowers or a fruit basket will put them at the top of a hiring manager’s list. In reality, this creates an awkward situation that should be avoided. A well-written thank you note is sufficient.
- Do wait before sending it: If you drop the note off with the receptionist as you leave, it’s clear you just fired it off quickly before the interview because you felt it was something that had to get done. Instead, wait until after the conversation, incorporate details from the discussion, and mail it later.
- Do proofread carefully: Just like your resume and cover letter, your thank you note must be flawless. Even though it’s a more casual form of correspondence, if you’re blatantly mixing up your “their” with your “they’re” and “there,” it shows that you don’t take time to carefully edit your work. This can lead a hiring manager to worry that the same mistakes could happen during important proposals and presentations. Check over your thank you note carefully before you send it. You may even want to ask someone else to review it for you too.
While getting snail mail is a rare occasion these days (why can’t the same be said for bills and junk mail?) taking time to write a thoughtful, carefully crafted letter can help you to stand out in the running for a competitive position.
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