You should ALWAYS send a thank-you letter after you interview
for a position or meet with someone as a contact for career-related advice
. By sending a thank-you note, you demonstrate clear appreciation for the time the employer or contact took to speak with you.
1. Whatever the format, keep it professional.
It is now acceptable to send either a letter through regular post or via email. If you are sending a letter via post, you can either write it by hand or type it. For handwritten notes, choose basic stationery in cream or write or a plain notecard. For typed letters, follow the basic guidelines for business letters, such as that used for writing cover letters
. For email messages, resist the temptation to use emoticons, excessive exclamation points, or language that is too casual.
2. Send a thank-you letter as soon as possible. Typically thank-you notes are sent within 24-48 hours of the interview. If you know that they will be making first-round decisions the same day, send a shortened version via email within a couple hours of your interview. Do not, however, send something from your Blackberry the minute you leave the interview, as this conveys a lack of thoughtfulness in writing the note. For an informational meeting with an alum or other contact, send your letter within 3-5 days of your conversation.
3. Help the person recall you and the conversation. In your letter, mention the position for which you were interviewed, including the date and location of the interview. Highlight a particular aspect of the conversation that piqued your interest or a topic that the two of you shared in common. For alumni and other contacts, this will help to further rapport and may help the contact to remember you if an opportunity arises.
4. Reaffirm your interest in the position. After interviews, mentioning specific job duties or topics discussed as well as rearticulating your strengths and experiences will further demonstrate your interest in the position.
5. Take care of business. Express your willingness to provide additional information if necessary, such as the names of references. If anything was requested of you during the interview, include that information with the letter.
Sample thank-you letter:
Dear Ms. Mendez-Padilla:
I am writing to say how much I enjoyed my interview with you on Tuesday afternoon at the County Youth Center. As a result of our conversation, my interest in the Youth Services position has increased significantly. I was impressed by the highly collaborative work environment you described, as well as the center’s commitment to community-based change.
With my background in psychology, two years of work as a residential community adviser, and several years of volunteer work in various educational settings, I am confident that I possess the strong program planning, organization, communication, and outreach skills that you seek. I am particularly enthusiastic to apply these skills to the new initiatives you mentioned to me. The chance to develop relationships with the 12 schools newly established in Dallas is especially appealing to me, as it seems this could lead to tremendous growth in the main programs sponsored by the Youth Center.
Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss my candidacy for the Youth Services position. I look forward to hearing from you next week.