When do I need to send a thank you letter/email?
You should send a thank you letter after an informational or formal interview, company visit, or other career exploration activity. In addition, we recommend sending a thank you letter when someone provides you with job search assistance such as referring you to an employer, providing a network contact, or speaking on your behalf to a prospective employer. Bottom line, when in doubt – send a thank you letter – there is nothing wrong with being over courteous.
Thank you letter/email tips
A thank you letter is a necessity during the job-hunt process, and unfortunately a great number of people overlook this part of the interview process. However, the poor follow-up of others can lead to your benefit, as it will make you stand out from the other candidates if you are the only (or one of few) individual(s) to send one.
Therefore, in order to have an impact on the hiring decision, you must insure that your letter is sent ASAP (preferably, the same day as your interview) – if a candidate for the job has been chosen before your letter is sent, obviously your letter will have no impact on the decision process – Therefore, time is of the essence.
When writing your letter, tailor it to the company and the interview. Please refrain from sending a generic thank you letter that you copied from a book – this will only prove your inability to do your own work. Instead, tailor it to the recipient and re-cap some of the highlights from your interview. In addition to not sounding generic, your interviewer met 10-30 people regarding the position – make him/her remember who you are and stand out.
Additionally, a thank you letter will allow you the opportunity to explain, restate, or clarify any potential misunderstandings that occurred during the interview. In addition, during the interview you most likely learned a new fact about the position or company – In your cover letter, you can tweak the copy to re-emphasize your strengths, accomplishments and skills that target your new findings.
Outline of a Standard Cover Letter
Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you and remind him/her of the position for which you interviewed.
Reiterate your sincere interest in the position and company. Be sure to mention something you learned from the interview or comment on something of importance that you discussed.
This will make you stand out from the other applicants. Emphasize your strengths, experiences, skills, and accomplishments. As noted previously, tweak them towards the points that the interviewer considered the most important for the position
End by thanking the interviewer for his/her time and consideration. If you feel it is appropriate, close with a suggestion for next steps (a second interview perhaps), or mention that you plan to follow up with a phone call in a few days.