Job Search Tips – How to Write a Good Thank You Note

To put it mildly, the job market is the worst it has been in the past century.  Unemployment is continuing to rise as more and more people are being laid off and companies are slowing their hiring procedures.

With that being said, there are still jobs out there for you to work, but it is important that you dot every I and cross every T in your search for your next job.

One of the biggest mistakes we see time and time again is the fact that job applicants are forgetting the basics, and a good thank you note is a basic element that every job applicant needs to have in their career toolkit.

There are 5 elements to a good thank you note:

  1. Timeliness! Let’s say that you just got done interviewing for your dream job and you know there are 100 others interviewing later that day.  I would be willing to bet you that only a handful of these individuals actually take the 30 seconds to write a good thank you note.  When you leave the interview you should have the thank you note already written and you should drop it off with the secretary on your way out or in the first mailbox that you see.  The key is making sure that the note is in the hands of the interviewer within 48 hours.
  2. Spelling.  While the job interview may have gone really well if you send a thank you note and you misspell the person’s name that interviewed you, you might just as well start looking for elsewhere.
  3. Grammar.  Just as spelling is important it is good for you to write out your thank you note in Microsoft Word beforehand so that you can make sure your sentences make sense and that it says what you want it to.  If you are not the best writer have someone else look over it for you.
  4. Legible.  Now people will go back and forth trying to decide if it is acceptable to have an email thank you note, I believe that in today’s world it is alright however a hand written one is ALWAYS preferred.  If you do end up hand writing the note you should write slowly and make sure that the recipient is going to be able to read how much you look forward to hearing from them.
  5. Short and Relevant. It is a thank you note, not a memoir!  2-3 sentences max!  You want to thank them for their time, explain how much you enjoyed the interview and how you look forward to working with them in the future.  Don’t make the note so vague that it appears that you have one template that you send to everyone.  You need to make it fit the company you just interviewed with.

Don’t beg for the job, don’t sound desperate, and don’t over think it.  A good thank you note will set you apart from the crowd. It could help seal the deal between two candidates, and it will remind them of your qualities at a later point in time.

Author: RJ Sherman

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  • Tom Kruczek

    Outstanding post, especially the point about a hand-written note. Thanks to the internet, the amount of actual mail that we get at the office is relatively slight. As a result, a hand-written thank you note truly stands out!

  • RJ Sherman

    Thanks for the good feedback! It is all to often that people overlook the thank you note all together. It goes a long ways and is so simple to do.

  • Phil Gerbyshak

    I’d like to expand on your last point: Add a little more meat to it, and instead of just relevant, make it PERSONAL. Talk about a personal connection you made during the interview. Think about a way you connected with the person, and share that connection. This minor tweak can remind the interviewer what a likeable person you are and how you will fit in well with the team because you have a little something like the hiring manager.

  • RJ Sherman

    Phil – I agree it is important to make it personal because it shows that you actually care about the interview/meeting. If you can throw a few memorable items into the thank you note it will help you be much more memorable. In today’s economic environment hiring managers if they are hiring, are seeing hundreds of applicants. Thanks for the comment!