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Build Your Career Get the Job

Thanks! 22 Job Interview Thank You Note Tips

Thanks! 22 Job Interview Thank You Note Tips
Credit: szefei/Shutterstock

Interviewing for your dream job? A thank-you note can mean the difference between receiving an offer and facing rejection. Thank-you notes may seem like a silly formality, but sending one seriously impresses employers.

"I can tell you that only about 20 percent of the candidates send one, and it really brings those candidates to the top of the pile," said Lori Kleiman, a human resources consultant.

But you can't just send any generic thank-you note and expect success. A good thank-you note gives you the opportunity to assert yourself as the best candidate for the job, fix any mistakes you may have made during the interview, expand your responses to important questions, and show your enthusiasm for the position. And, even if you don't wind up getting the job, sending a thank-you note can be a great way to keep doors open for future employment. 

"Remember that this may go into your personnel file at the employer, and that even if you are not the first choice for the position, you may get a call about a similar position or if the first choice does not work out," said Linda Carlson, author and owner of small business consulting company Barrett Street Productions. [Ready to start looking for a job? Check out BND’s job listings page.]

Ready to wow your interviewers? Business News Daily asked experts to weigh in on how to write the perfect thank-you note.

"Do not prewrite the thank-you note before the interview. I've seen candidates interview and, at the end of the interview, hand the manager a thank-you note. Make it a genuine note." – Noelle Cipollini Williams, Orlando director of recruiting, Kavaliro

"Be sure to take notes during the interview so that you can personalize the thank-you note. Include a tidbit from your conversation that you know will help the interviewer remember who you are, and use the thank-you note to remind the interviewer why you are a good fit for the position." – Jodi R. R. Smith, president and owner, Mannersmith

"You should send a fold-over note card, not use a correspondence card, which is a one-piece, heavy-stock card, usually accompanied with the sender's name printed across the top of the card. These cards are used for short notes and invitations." –Parker Geiger, career coach and CEO, Chuva Group

"In today's market, send both [an email and a mailed note]. The email gets there fast, in case the employer is making a decision right away. The snail-mail thank-you letter leaves a lasting impression that lingers longer. How you follow up with the interviewer shows the interviewer how you will communicate with co-workers, clients and other stakeholders, if you are hired. The snail-mail thank you showcases your writing and shows you will make the extra effort." – Callista Gould, certified etiquette instructor and founder, Culture and Manners Institute

"Mention something that the interviewer spoke about personally that was important to them (fishing, golf, kids, etc.) and possibly some of the business initiatives that they brought up. It makes the note more meaningful." – Seth Deitchman, former career coach and financial adviser, The Mercury Group at Morgan Stanley

"Get business cards from everyone you talk to, and don't forget to include the administrative assistant or secretary and/or person getting you water or coffee." –John W. Beiter, executive coach and psychologist

"Write a thank-you note to each person with whom you interviewed, and make them unique. Besides thanking each of them for their time, include a reference to a part of the specific conversation you had with them." – Marcelle Yeager, president, Career Valet

"Don't just thank your interviewer for the time they spent. Provide additional value by giving more details about why the employer should hire you. Be sure you use specific examples [of how] your past performance [makes you a] great candidate for this new job." – Scott Vedder, author, "Signs of a Great Résumé" (CreateSpace, July 2012)

"Sending a link to an article, video or podcast that complements the interview conversation impresses many interviewers." – Mark Anthony Dyson, host and producer, The Voice of Job Seekers podcast

"Be sure to express your interest in being considered for the specific position you interviewed for. Your letter should convey enthusiasm, intelligence and professionalism. Lastly, attach a copy of your résumé." – Nicole Kennedy, program manager, Polishing the Professional

"Immediately after any meeting, our best practice is to send a personalized thank-you email to every person you met with. Following that, write a thank-you card, stick your business card inside and send it out ASAP." – Ketti Salemme, communications manager, TinyHR

"Admit to an imperfection [and say] something like this: 'I wasn't completely satisfied with my answer to your question concerning my management style, and I'd like to take this opportunity to briefly readdress it.' This can be an effective way to redo an interview question that you mucked up during the actual interview." – Joseph Terach, co-founder, Resume Deli

"Many candidates report that after they leave the interview, they think of all the other things they could have said during the meeting. Rather than labeling this a liability, turn it into an asset by discussing these points in the thank-you letter, and remind the reader of your ability to produce similar results for their organization." –Barbara Safani, executive résuméwriter and president, Career Solvers

"My advice is to send them a proposal of the things you will accomplish in your first 90 days on the job. In other words, start working before you even get hired. Do not just say, 'Thanks for your time; I'm really excited, blah blah blah.' Everyone says that. Your goal is to stand out and be unique while showing your value. What better way to do that than to explain to the hiring manager exactly how you will do your job and do it well?" – Melanie L. Denny, career empowerment coach

"You may be very excited and enthusiastic following a job interview, but you don't overdo it when you express it in the thank-you note. Writing something like, 'I would LOVE to work with you!!!' is a bit too much."– Lela Reynolds, senior career consultant, Resume Strategists

"Nothing turns off a recruiter more than finding typos in a cover letter or follow-up note, especially if they [the letters] are brief. The thinking is, if you can't write properly in a short note, you must be a disaster in a long document."– Mario Almonte, managing partner, Herman & Almonte PR

"Write it out first. Take a piece of paper and write down exactly what you want to say. Keep it simple, thank them for their time, express interest in the job, mention an item that came up during the interview. If there is room, include a self-promotional reaffirmation of your qualifications versus what they are looking for. Make sure everything you want to say fits into the interior of the card. If it doesn't, edit until it does." – Mindy Jensen, community manager, BiggerPockets.com

"Let's say, for [the] sake of argument, that, at the end of the interview, the interviewer tells the candidate that she can expect a decision within two weeks. Two weeks pass, and no news. The candidate should wait a third week and then send what I call a 'thank-you rejection letter.' After three weeks, the candidate should write, 'Thank you again for interviewing me for the position. I realize you have probably decided to go with another candidate. While I am naturally disappointed, I do appreciate having had the opportunity to interview and look forward to seeing you in the future. Best wishes.'" – Bruce Hurwitz, president and CEO, Hurwitz Strategic Staffing

"If you don't want the job, still send a thank-you note. Let them know why you're declining the job and what job would be a good fit. Things could change, and they might refer you to someone else. If they tell you they hired someone else, thank them for letting you know, and let them know you're still interested in a career with their company. Do not ask why you didn't get the job, which could put them on the defensive and make them uncomfortable. Always leave the door open for future possibilities." – Ronald Kaufman, author, "Anatomy of Success" (Self-published, December 1998)

"If they informed you that you won't be getting this job, send a thank-you note, and ask if there are other positions they recommend you apply for. Keep selling your strengths!" – Dana Manciagli, career expert and author, "Cut the Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process for a New Era" (Authority Publishing, April 2013)

"It is important to ask, 'What is the next step in the process?' to determine the best timing. If the leaders indicate a decision to bring back a candidate for another interview or [that a] hire is going to be made later that day or the next morning, candidates have two options: send an email following the meeting, or write a handwritten note and hand deliver [it] to the office to ensure it is there prior to the decision making." – Jane Trnka, executive director, Career Resource Center at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business

"Send both an electronic version — immediately following the interview — and a handwritten thank you within 24 hours." –Michelle Merritt, president and CEO, Merrfeld Resumes and Coaching

Brittney Helmrich
Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.