Sometimes, in life, it’s the little things that matter. When it comes to job interviews, one seemingly minor detail that carries a lot of importance is the follow-up thank-you note — something that could be a deal-breaker when employers have to decide between two candidates with similar skills. As CIO senior writer Sarah K. White writes in a post titled “7 Tips for writing a Great Post-Interview Thank You Note,” these short pieces of correspondence are “one of the most important steps towards landing your dream job.” Read on for some of her excellent advice on how to craft a note that showcases your interest, gratitude, and thoughtfulness.
1. Don’t Get a Jumpstart — You may be tempted to save time by writing your thank-you before the interview, but this is a mistake. The result “will probably wind up sounding impersonal,” White writes, and if the idea is to distance yourself from the pack, you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
2. Send Fast (But Not Too Fast) — The generally accepted send window is 24 hours. Don’t fire the note off in the elevator back to the lobby, but don’t wait more than a day, either.
3. Spread the Thanks Around — Quite often, you interview with more than one person, and everyone you chatted with ought to get a note. Career strategist Cachet B. Prescott recommends contacting the receptionist to get names you may have missed.
4. Proof Carefully — No matter the position you’re applying for, “attention to detail” is likely a preferred skill, so make sure you don’t have any glaring grammar or spelling mistakes.
5. Reference Your Conversation — This goes back to No. 1. You don’t want your letter to sound impersonal or generic, so highlight specific things you talked about during the interview. This will show you were paying attention, and that you’re genuinely interested in joining the team.
6. Show Proper Gratitude — Interviewing is a huge time-drain, and not just for you. Be sure to thank each individual for taking time out of his or her busy schedules to meet with you.
7. Forget the Stamp — Handwritten letters are great and all, but this is the 21st century, and email is king. Instead of using snail mail and hoping your thank-yous arrive in a day or two, use the computer and ensure you meet that 24-hour deadline.