Thank you Letter Conundrums

The Do’s and Don’ts of Thank You Letters

Just as many things about the job hunting process have changed thanks to the internet, the thank you letter step also seems to have gotten more confusing as well. Here are some guidelines for your next thank you letter.

Timing. No question. FAST. But is a follow up email ok? These questions cause more of a quandary. Clearly, mailed letters are the tradition. But if you have any reason at all to believe the interviewer will be making the decision quickly, the sooner you get your thank you to them, the better. Also, if you are interviewing at a massive company, sometimes personal mail can get lost in the internal mail system for days. When in doubt – email.

Should it be typed? Or Handwritten? Either is fine. Email thank you notes are almost expected in the electronic age. But impressions are everything. If you are writing a thank you note card by hand, is your hand writing legible? Are you using a classic, high quality note card on impeccable stationery? If you do hand write your note card, make sure you have your thoughts planned out, and still cover all your bases with what you need to cover. (Not sure what a follow up interview thank you letter should include? See our article: Thank You Letters Speak Volumes About You) Thank you notes are “real mail” in a day and age of e-everything. It certainly sets you apart.

Multiple Interviewers. It’s not uncommon to have multiple interviewers involved in the hiring process, especially for roles that interact with multiple departments. In these cases, be sure to ask for the business card for each of these people as well. They were involved in the hiring process for a reason. If they will be offering their opinion about who is to be hired – they should be on your thank you list.

Don’t be cute. Scented stationery might have seemed cute in the movie Legally Blonde, but it will equally seem as comical. Don’t make yourself the butt of jokes later told about the last group of candidates the company interviewed. They’re judging your professionalism. Being memorable in this way isn’t a good one.

Don’t forget… One group of people most candidates forget to thank are their references. These people are serving as professional and character witnesses for you. They’re affirming to the hiring manager that what you’ve said is credible: yes, you really are as good as you sound on paper. Be sure to follow up with them every step of the way: that you got an interview, that you’re done interviewing, and that you got (or didn’t get) the job. They’ll be more likely to continue being a reference if you show them this little (but important courtesy.)

The world of interviewing can be fraught with conundrums and possibilities for missteps. Don’t let that prevent you from getting off on the right foot with your future employer. Keep it simple: just say thank you to everyone who helps you along the way to getting your next job.
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