In conducting a job search, you always need to keep in mind ways to set yourself apart from other applicants. And one of those ways is to write a thank you note.
Be sure to do this after every job interview, but also after after an informational interview or job shadowing experience. If you’re proactive, as we recommend, and drop by restaurants, retail shops or businesses unannounced to talk to the hiring manager about potential job opportunities, be sure to follow up by sending a thank you note to that person as well.
While many people don’t bother to send these notes, it’s very important to do so.
In a survey of 2,878 hiring managers conducted in 2011 by Harris International for CareerBuilder, more than one in five (22%) said they are less likely to hire a candidate who doesn’t send a thank you note after the interview. The reasons stated: It shows a lack of follow through and sends a message that the candidate is not really serious about the opportunity.
Although the survey was conducted nearly five years ago, it still rings true. Hiring managers like to be thanked.
While it used to be said that hand-written notes were the preferred method to thank people, these days email thank you notes are also appropriate. Some people send an email note within 24 hours of the interview and follow up with a hand-written note that emphasizes other details.
Either way, the medium may not be as important as the message.
What to include in a thank you note
Be sure to keep the thank you note to a few paragraphs, and use it strategically to:
- Bring up a point or two that you didn’t remember to mention in the interview.
- Briefly elaborate on a question the interviewer asked but you feel you didn’t answer well.
- Clarify anything that you think might have been misunderstood.
- Show that you are really interested in the position (or the field, if it’s an informational interview).
If you’re not sure how to write one, there are plenty of examples of interview thank you notes online. Just search using the term “interview thank you notes,” and they will come up. Read a few examples and write an original note of your own.
Creating a habit of writing follow-up thank you notes will be just one more way to help ensure your job search is successful.