End on a Good Note: The Thank-You Letter

Feb
22

A thank you letter is an important but often neglected step of the job search process. Learn why thank you letters are important and how to write one that will seal the deal on your job search.

There are many reasons you should take the time to send a thank you letter. First, it shows that you are professional and have good manners. Second, it shows that you take initiative and have interest in the position. Third, it reinforces the positive impression you left when you met with the person (and gives you a chance to follow up with them, too). And fourth, it increases the chances for landing your next big opportunity.

It’s never not a good idea to write a thank you letter. With so many advantages, why do so many people miss this very important step? Studies suggest that as few as 5 percent of job seekers take the time to send a thank you letter after an interview. This means about 95 percent are not sending one. A thank you letter will certainly make you stand out from other candidates.

Forgetting (or just plain not bothering) to send a note of written appreciation is all too common, but it can make all the difference. When faced with two equally qualified candidates, recruiters often pick the job seeker who sent a thank you letter over the one who didn’t.

You should write a thank you letter after:

  • A job interview
  • Meeting an important professional contact
  • Anyone helps you out with your job search

Don’t forget to ask for a business card before you part ways. Their contact info will be a huge help when you follow up with them later.

Be prompt. Start drafting your thank you letter as soon as possible, while the details of your encounter are still fresh in your mind. Send it out as soon as possible; within 24 hours is best.

Handwritten thank you letters are best because they are the most special. However, if there’s no time to waste with snail mail, or if your handwriting is hard to read, or if you know the employer prefers email correspondence, an email thank you note might be a better choice. If you choose email, treat it like a formal letter and not like a casual message to a friend.

A good length for a thank you letter is three short paragraphs. Start it by using the salutation “Dear” followed by “Mr.” or “Mrs./Ms.” and the person’s last name.

The first paragraph should express your appreciation. For example, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me at the job fair on Saturday. I appreciate that you introduced me to Norah Jones and for sharing your insights in the healthcare industry.”

Paragraph two should add more details you discussed at the meeting. If you had a job interview, reiterate why you’re the perfect candidate for the job because of your skills and accomplishments. For example, “I understand that you need a candidate with excellent customer service and organizational skills to excel in the front desk position. I’m confident my experience in hospitality would be an asset to your organization.” This is also where you can make a point you forgot to mention or didn’t have time to say at the time of the meeting.

The closing paragraph should thank the recipient once again. For a job interview letter, restate your interest in the position and company. Tell the person what you expect will happen next. State how you would like to be contacted for further discussion. For example, “Thanks again for considering me for the IT assistant position. I am impressed with the forward-thinking culture at Waldo Industries and our meeting further convinced me that I would be a good fit in your company. Please feel free to call me at any time if you need further information, have any questions, or would like to offer me the position! Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.”

Close the letter with “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” and sign your name.

Make sure your thank you letter is free of typos and spelling and grammatical errors. Have a trusted friend proofread your letter before sending it out.

Many example thank you letters are available online. However, a generic letter is boring – and it’s never a good thing when the person can tell that it’s cookie-cutter. Personalize your letter with specific details from the meeting. Just don’t get too personal with professional contacts, and be careful not to sound desperate.

Saying “Thank you” on paper is a lost art. Follow these steps and express your appreciation to everyone that helps you on your way to your next big job opportunity.

Source: Jobungo Resources

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