Secrets to Great Thank You Letters

Secrets to Great Thank You Letters

By Robert Mandelberg, CPRW, CEIP

You’ve prepared well for your job interview: You researched the company, answered all of their questions thoroughly, and made a great impression. But before you run home and indulge in a celebratory box of Fig Newtons, there’s still one more thing you have to do to complete the interview process: write a thank you letter.

Okay, let’s not hyperventilate; it’s not that difficult. It should only take you a few moments and it could very well be the final touch that brings you a job offer. Human resources professionals have varied opinions regarding thank you letters; some aren’t at all swayed by them, while others consider a thank you letter to be an important component of the interview process. In either case, sending a thank you letter is a wise decision because it is courteous and it reflects your professionalism.

Let’s discuss three types of thank you letters: standard thank you letter, follow-up letter, and hiring proposal.

 Standard Thank You Letter:

Just as the name implies, this type of letter expresses your appreciation to the interviewer for taking the time to interview you for the position. It does not go into great detail about you or the interview; instead it is an upbeat, concise note that simply fulfills your obligation of sending a thank you letter.

Follow-up Letter:

More in-depth than a standard thank you, a follow-up letter discusses specific issues that were brought up during the interview. Now that you’ve had a chance to learn about the employer’s concerns and needs, you can use the follow-up letter as an opportunity to demonstrate why you are the perfect person for the position. You can highlight the qualifications you believe match the position, overcome any objections that arose during the interview, and provide any other supporting information that will help your cause. Follow-up letters are generally one or two pages.

Hiring Proposal:

Here is where it gets interesting. A hiring proposal is a detailed report that states exactly what you intend to do if hired by the company. If you choose to write a proposal of this nature, you must have a full understanding of the company’s goals, capabilities, and resources. You clearly state what results you will accomplish and how you plan on accomplishing them.  When I create hiring proposals for my clients, I like to break it into 30-day, 90-day, and one-year goals. If you really want to make an impact to a prospective employer, commit to achieving measurable results and milestones within specified timeframes.

Is it better to mail or e-mail your thank you letter? Either way is fine; just make sure you send it. If you have been corresponding with the company via e-mail, then continue to do so. A mailed thank you letter is more formal, but still appropriate.

When should you send the thank you letter? A few days later? A week? The answer: Right away. The minute you get home. This is not a situation where you want to play hard to get. Write and send the letter immediately to let the employer know you are serious and enthusiastic about the job. If you wait a week, the job may already be filled.

So now your work is done. The interview went well, the thank you letter was sent. Feel free to raid the cupboard and lapse into a Fig Newtons frenzy. You deserve it!