The thank-you note is an indispensable tool in your job search. Employers often say that receiving a timely, well-written thank-you note can make or break a hiring decision. It attests to your interest in the position, your professionalism and business etiquette, and your genuine appreciation for the interview. A thank-you note also helps you stand out from the crowd — surprisingly, only 20 percent of job seekers take the time to write a thank-you note.
How to Write a Good Thank-You Note
- Make it personal. A generic thank-you note can be worse than no thank-you note at all. What it communicates is that you know you’re supposed to write a note but don’t care enough to give it your best effort. Address the interviewer and company by name (not by first name unless you’ve been invited to do so). Mention something from the interview that struck you as interesting or unique.
- Make it sincere. If the employer senses that your gratitude isn’t genuine, your thank-you note will backfire. Authenticity matters.
- Keep it short and to the point. You’ll leave a fresh, positive impression if you stick to the basics:
- Express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and consideration.
- Mention something interesting about the interview.
- Emphasize (briefly!) any information that may not have been shared in the interview.
- Reiterate your interest in the position.
- Remind the employer how well suited you are for the position.
- Send a separate note to everyone who interviewed you. If more than one person participated in interviewing you, send each one a separate and unique thank-you note.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. Be sure to check for misspellings and errors just as you would on your résumé or cover letter — in many ways it is just as important.
- Don’t delay. If at all possible, your note should be sent the day of the interview.
Hand-Written, Typed, or Emailed? Which Is Best?
In general, according to most employers, here is the order of preference:
- Typed notes that are printed, put into printed envelopes, and mailed.
- Emailed notes (see a sample thank you email).
- Hand-written notes.
Some people do a combination of methods — sending an emailed note immediately after the interview and then mailing a printed or hand-written note (different from the emailed note!) the next day.
In the end, you should choose the method based on the job you are seeking, what you feel most comfortable doing, and what you think the employer will prefer.
- If the job you are pursuing requires skills with email, send an emailed note to demonstrate your email expertise.
- If the job requires extensive use of Microsoft Word, creating and sending a note (with address printed on the envelope) demonstrates those skills.
- If all your communications with the employer have been via email, an emailed thank-you may be most appropriate.
- For formal organizations such as law firms and accounting firms, a hand-written thank-you note may be the most appropriate.
You may or may not get an email in response to your thank-you note, but don’t assume that means bad news. If you still haven’t heard anything at the end of the hiring timeline they indicated (or after two weeks, if unsure), you can reach out to the employer again.