A Little-Known Job Search Jewel: The Thank You Letter

I’ve been asked many, many times, “Do I really need to send a Thank You letter to the employer?”… and the answer is always, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Okay, so I am a bit anal about Thank You letters. I know that–especially after a wedding or birthday (don’t get me started). But do we need to do it after an interview? Does the employer really care? Does it really make a difference?

YES!

When in the job search process, a little bit of manners goes a long way. A thank you letter can literally boost your chances of beating out other candidates, according to a new study on HR.BLR.com, a human resources website.

In a recent online poll taken, a question was posed to HR managers “Are you more likely to hire someone who has sent you a post-interview thank you note?”. 61 percent answered either “yes” or “perhaps”, where 39 percent said “no” or “probably not”.

With fierce competition out there these days, HR professionals are looking at more and more criteria to help them decide on the best possible candidate. The right thank you letter can give a hiring manager additional insight on your intelligence, manners, and written verbal communication skills, as well as your desire for the job. Guess it’s time to dust off the box of thank you notes.

Studies repeatedly show that candidates who follow up the interview with a thank you always get chosen before their peers. Sending a customized thank you note gives you an edge. It helps remind the interviewer who you are. Many recruiters of Fortune 500 companies admit that some candidates get lost in the shuffle, only to rediscover them when receiving a thank you note.  A thank you note reiterates your strong points. It reminds them why they should hire YOU.

Here are a few tips about writing a thank you note:

1- Proofread. Double check and make sure that not only is your thank you error-free, but that you are sending it to the right employer!

2- Restate Your Strong Points. Hiring managers state that a thank you note is “literally the last chance candidates have to sell themselves to an employer”. Remind them why you are the best candidate.

3- Impress Them With Your Listening Skills. State something in the letter that relates to the conversations you had at the interview. Show them you really were listening to them, not daydreaming about what the benefits and compensations are going to be.

4- Thank Everyone. If 3 people interviewed you, then they each get a thank you. Not only will they be impressed, but they may show it to each other in an attempt to get the others to want to hire you, too. Just remember to customize each letter. A letter that is not well-thought-out (or the same to each) can only hurt you. If you are stumped on what to write, just think about the topics you discussed during the interviews.

It only takes about 2 minutes and a stamp to make a lasting impression.

Note: Professional Résumé Services and Healthcare IT Central (HITC) have teamed up to provide powerful resumes for powerful Healthcare IT executives, at exclusive prices only available to HITC members.  If you are not getting calls, it’s most likely your résumé.

About the author

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Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW, BS/HR, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services. She is a nationally published writer and contributor of nine best-selling career books.

4 Comments

  • Truer words were never spoken. A year or so after I started my current job, at which I’ve now been at for 8+ years, my supervisor told me my thank you note was the deciding factor in my hiring.

    I believe it’s a great skill to have, and to teach. Check out “The Art of Thank You Notes: Why Teaching Your Kids To Write Thank You Notes Now May Help Them Get A Job Later,” at http://bit.ly/a0Wtfh.

  • As always, great advice, Erin! Growing up, we weren’t allowed to play with our toys the day after Christmas until our thank you notes were written. We’d always grumble about it, but it instilled a valuable habit that I’m sure has helped me along the way, as it has Jennifer!

    In addition to thank yous after gifts and interviews, I’m a strong believer in thank you notes after key introductions or interactions. As a matter of fact, our first Job Seeker blogger landed her writing gig with us as a result of a thank you note! More details here: http://tinyurl.com/yahx428

  • Jennifer,

    I’m glad it worked for you. I’m amazed at the scores of folks who still don’t use them. It literally is the difference between a call back or a silent phone!

    Erin

  • Gwen,

    I know what you mean– it was pounded into our heads, too. I still get annoyed when I don’t get a ‘thank you’ back for a wedding or b-day gift. Even my 6-year old now writes them. 🙂

    Erin

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