How can you stand out against the crowd of other job applicants? What can you do to make an impression on the person that you just interviewed? Why not do something that over half of your competitors never do? Send a thank you note to the person you spoke to earlier today.
Sending a thank you note shows that you are serious about your job search and that you really want to land that job you applied for. Furthermore, data from CareerBuilder shows that 22% of hiring managers won't consider a candidate who doesn't send a thank you note because they believe it shows a lack of follow-through and commitment to the job.
Thank you notes also give you the opportunity to mention anything that you may have left out of the interview. You can elaborate on important details that you think you should've mentioned earlier. You can also use it to reiterate your important skills that are essential to the job.
Of course, you want to customize your thank you letter as much as possible Crafting a generic one that says "Thanks for the interview. I look forward to hearing back," reads like a message you just copied and pasted and send to every other interview. You should let the interviewer know how important the job is to you and why your skills are the ones that will make you the best candidate.
You should already be preparing your thank you note during your interview. When the time comes to ask questions to the interviewer, you should ask questions that will provide you answers that you can then incorporate into your follow-up letter. For example, some good questions you could ask are "What are the three biggest strengths you think someone would need to succeed in this position?" or "What is the biggest issue facing your department and how would I be in a position to help?" Make sure to take notes when you get answers so that you can refer back to them when writing your thank you letter. Here's an example template you can use for an email:
Subject: Thank You for [Job Position] Interview
Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name],
Thank you so much speaking with my earlier today about the [job position] at [company]. I'm very enthusiastic to tell you why I believe that my skills and experience make me the perfect match for this job.
In the interview, you mentioned that you need someone who is good at [skill 1], [skill 2], and [skill 3]. I'm pleased to say that I meet these qualifications perfectly. First, my experience at [previous company] has made me incredibly proficient at [skill 1] as I always had to do [task]. Second, I'm very skilled at [skill 2] due to my experience with [task]. Lastly, I've been told that my [skill 3] skills are impeccable due to the times where I've done [task].
You also mentioned that your department is currently having a lot of trouble with [problem]. If I were accepted for this position, my proficiency in [relevant skills] would help tremendously.
Thank you once again for your time and consideration.
Feel free to tailor the above template as much as you want to suit your needs. However, you probably don't want to go more than four paragraphs. As nice as it would be to stuff your numerous accomplishments into your resume, no hiring manager is going to want to read an essay. On the other hand, making it too short will tell the hiring manager that you simply have nothing to offer or say.
Make sure to send the thank you note within 24 hours of the interview while you are still fresh in the interviewer's memory. Don't send it right away. Wait at least four or five hours before sending it. If you have work on the same day, make sure to send it after you get off of work. If you send it during work hours, that will tell the interviewer exactly how you spend the time in which you should be working.
Email letters are the most common and convenient, but hand-written notes will really show that you're going the extra mile. Make sure that your handwriting is neat and legible as a sloppy looking letter will probably not help you get the position that you want. Handwritten letters should be addressed and sent the same day as the interview as they will likely take a few days to arrive in the mail.
The art of writing the perfect thank you note takes time and practice, but the effort is always well worth it in the end. Sending a thank you note can make or break the whole interview process, and getting it right can land you the job that you want. Make it a habit to always send thank you notes after an interview. You will find that your chances of success will increase monumentally.