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Thank-You Notes
An Integral Part of Your Career Design

Thank you noteThere is one little practice that is vital to generating the interest of potential employers. It is critical, but very few job seekers actually do it.

What is it? The THANK YOU NOTE!

Interview experts agree that EVERY job hunter MUST send thank-you notes after EVERY job interview. They also point out that most people completely ignore this bit of wisdom.

Give yourself an edge
In order to have a huge advantage over the other candidates for the job you want, send thank-you notes to EVERYONE you meet the day of the interview — administrative assistants, managers, interviewers, people you met who already do the job you are targeting and so on.

One of my resume clients (let's call him Mike) is a Certified Arborist and Tree Care Professional in the San Diego area. His goal is to move into the consulting arena. Very soon after speaking on the phone with the owner of a prominent tree care company, Mike mailed a brief note thanking the owner for his time and consideration. Within a week, the owner called Mike and offered him an informal mentoring arrangement to help Mike learn more about the consulting side of tree care.

Mike decided to pass on the offer and continue his job search, and he recently landed a very nice position. He sent me an e-mail about his recent job-hunting activities saying, "...and just so you know, the thank-you letter has got to be the block that keeps the door open. I sent out three letters and subsequently got three offers."

Why send a thank you note
If you're not convinced yet, the following reasons outline the significance of sending thank-you notes:

  • Sending a thank-you note demonstrates that you are good with people. You employ the most basic of people skills — a show of gratitude.

  • It helps companies remember you after the interview. You can restate your interest in the position, especially if the interview went well.

  • You can use the thank-you note to summarize a few of the main points discussed at the interview. You can also add anything you forgot to tell them.

  • It has the potential to increase your affinity with those who have the authority to hire you.

  • It shows that you are serious about your career design.

  • It indicates that you are organized and on top of details.

  • It demonstrates that you went out of your way to show interest in the company and/or position.

  • If they decide not to consider you for the position, perhaps they know of another opportunity that suits you. You can mention this in the thank-you note, asking them to keep you in mind.

Keep It simple
The post-interview thank-you note doesn't have to be fancy. It does have to use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. Here's an example:

[Interview Date]

Dear Mr. Smith:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. As we discussed, my 10-years of outside sales experience is a perfect fit for XYZ Widgets as you expand into the Pacific Rim. In light of your plans for Asia, you'll find my Japanese language skills to be of great value.

Feel free to contact me at 123-555-1234 should you have additional questions. I am very interested in the position and looking forward to our next meeting.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.


Jane Doe

OK. You now know the impact a thank-you note can have after an employment interview.

Are there other opportunities to send them?

Absolutely! The general rule is this:

After ANYONE has done you even the smallest favor during the job-hunt/career-design process, send the individual a thank-you note. Was a receptionist at a company you phoned while doing research exceptionally helpful? Did one of your colleagues take five minutes to help you with a cover letter? Did somebody who already does the job you want to do provide you with some valuable insights? The job hunt can be frustrating. Was someone particularly encouraging?

You should send each of these individuals a brief handwritten thank-you note expressing your gratitude for their time and assistance.

To reiterate: A thank-you note goes to everyone who helps you, gives you leads, or provides advice or guidance even in the most infinitesimal way. That includes friends, people at companies or organizations you've visited while doing your research, temp agency personnel, administrative assistants, receptionists, librarians, company employees...ANYONE!

Here are a few thank-you note guidelines:

- Address the note to the specific individual with which you spoke. Personalize it. Be sure to use the correct title when addressing a woman. Find out if you should use Ms., Mrs. or Miss and get it right. Avoid an obligatory, mechanical tone. Mention something about your conversation or how the individual treated you.

- Thank-you notes following an interview should be written on quality note stationery with letterhead matching that of your resume. Remember to sign it!

- A conservative, handwritten thank-you card is appropriate for all those friends, colleagues, and casual contacts that have helped you along the way.

- Send thank-you notes within 24 hours of the interview or the very next day at the latest. If it arrives a week later, the meaning is lost.

- If you e-mail a sentiment of gratitude, follow up with a thank-you note or card in the mail.

Use your best judgment—these are just guidelines.

The thank-you note is critical to your getting noticed and to the success of your job hunt. And because most folks either forget or just plain don't do it, you'll find yourself at a significant advantage.

About the Author...
Copyright Peter Hill, CPRW--Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. Peter Hill is President of Distinctive Resumes in Honolulu, Hawaii and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer. Nationally published, he is recognized as one of America's top resume experts.

More about post-interview thank you letters around the Web:

Sample Thank You Emails and Letters for Job Search

Sample Interview Thank You Letters


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