After an Interview: Writing Thank You Letters that Work
In our society one of the most valued commodities is traded not in dollars and cents but in hours and minutes. Taking the time to express gratitude for the opportunity to interview for a position is an often overlooked step, but one that can be the difference in landing the job you desire. Here are a few tips on crafting thank you letters that work.
- Consider timeliness
Ideally you should send a thank you letter within 24-48 hours of the job interview. Send a letter too late and you run the risk of having been forgotten or the position being filled. Too early and you may regret not giving the hiring manager or yourself time to fully assess how the interview went.
- Pay attention to word choice
You wouldn’t send a Shakespearean soliloquy to a hiring manager, but neither should the start of your letter contain the words ‘howzit’ or ‘brah,’ be sure to choose your wording carefully. If you’re sending an email, keep in mind that while technology has made it quicker for us to send off a note it hasn’t necessarily made us better editors. Take your time in crafting a succinct, purposed message and you won’t need to regret having sent something you shouldn’t have.
- Make it personal
One way to stand out from other candidates is to directly address the wants and needs expressed by the interviewer. Hiring managers see a tremendous amount of people—often for multiple positions at the same time. It is understandable if they don’t remember every candidate. If you can reiterate your compatibility with the position while highlighting your capabilities to address specific company needs, you will position yourself as an ideal fit.
- Express gratitude
Your message shouldn’t be all about you. The purpose of writing a thank you letter is to express sincere gratitude for the opportunity. The closer you can remain to the purest intent of the gesture the more likely you are to make a positive impression on a hiring manager.
- Spell check, spell check, spell check
If possible, have someone proofread your letter before you send it. Someone who can give you actual, knowledgeable feedback. The more review your letter receives the better. Most writers tend to have difficulty identifying errors in logic or grammar in the things they’ve written. Making sure you’re sending a grammatically sound and well-crafted letter is worth the time it takes to appear professional.
About 75 percent of hiring managers say that receiving a thank you letter influences their hiring decisions. Yet, only 5 percent of all jobseekers actually bother sending a thank you note. In Hawaii, where positions are often filled based on who you know and advertised by word of mouth, expressing sincere gratitude just might be the lasting impression that builds a professional relationship that propels you forward in your career.