Your heart is still racing from the fact that you just finished an interview with a possible employer, and you think the toughest part is over. However, there is one more "bear your soul" step you still have to take: the follow up letter.
After sending in all of those pesky applications and writing the perfect cover letter, you nail a job interview. You think, “Yes! All that hard work has finally paid off”. But, just because the interview is over, doesn’t mean your work here is done.
The post-interview follow-up letter is a way to thank your interviewer for giving you the opportunity to interview for the job. So how do you write an eye-catching follow-up letter that balances your appreciation towards the person who interviewed you and your interest in the position?
How to Write the Perfect Post-Interview Thank You Letter
There is an art and a science to generating a perfect follow-up email. Use these do’s and don’ts to ensure your next follow-up correspondence leaves a lasting impression.
Address your interviewer directly
Do: This is a formal letter, and must be treated as such. Always be sure to get the full name and contact information of your interviewer. This is the name that you should address them as. However, if your interviewer prefers to be called by something else, you respect their wishes and use that name. For example; if you are interviewed by a man named “Mark Smith” who prefers to be called “Mr. Smith” then you respect his wish and address him as such.
Don’t: Avoid using any informalities. The beginning, middle, and end of a follow-up letter should be precise and to the point. Using words such as; hey, hello, buddy, pal, forms of nicknames, and other forms of informalities will make you sound like you will not take the job seriously.
What to include in your thank you letter
Do: Include information that is viable to the interview itself. Send a self-review in addition to your thank you. Go over why you are a good candidate for this job, your credentials, experience, and many other points. Other information you can include are alternative phone numbers; possible changes in address, and business related e-mail address. Make yourself look good, and stand out from the rest.
Don’t: Include points that have nothing to do with the job or the interviewing process. This information is irrelevant, and if you feel the need to include it, your interviewers may view you as “Unprofessional” or “Scatterbrained” two traits that most definitely do not belong in a professional environment.
When to write a letter
Do: To ensure your letter brings the best positive impact you should always write and send it promptly after your interview. After the interview, a suggested window of 24 hours should be given to write and send a thank you note. After all, the thank you note sets you apart from many people who don’t even bother to follow up on the interview, as well as shows enthusiasm for the job.
Don’t: To set yourself apart from the rest of the interviewees you must send a letter. Don’t ignore the fact that someone took the time out of their busy schedule to speak with you.
Who to send a letter to
Do: Send an individual letter to each person who interviewed you. Not only does this approach set you apart, but it helps to personalize each letter to match what they might want to see.
Don’t: Write one letter and address it to every single interviewer. This demonstrates laziness on your part. It shows that you cannot be bothered to repeat a task, which you most likely will have to do in the world of business. Writing a single letter is also bad because more than likely only one person will read it, or it will end up being thrown away.
Know what you are thanking your interviewer for
Do: When writing a thank you note you must clearly state what you are thanking the person for. Thank the individuals who spoke with you during the interview process for their time, for giving you an opportunity, and most importantly, for considering you as a candidate.
Don’t: Simply say thank you and end the letter. Also, be sure to close your letter properly with your full name. There could be several people interviewing for the role or if you have a common name, many people who share that name. And you're more likely to grab their attention by mentioning something personal in what you are thanking them for.
The world of interviewing is a competitive and harsh place. No matter where you are applying it is almost guaranteed that you are competing with over 100 other people who wish to qualify for that job. Your best option is to make yourself stand out above the rest, and every step counts. From the simple cover letter of your resume, all the way to following up with a thank-you letter. Each step you choose to take that nobody else will make you look like the better candidate.
Jonathan Emmen is a student and a passionate blogger from Copenhagen and regular contributor for different educational and entertainment blogs. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen or you can also follow him on his writing blog.