What’s the one thing everyone needs to do after an interview?  The one non-negotiable thing? Yep, you got it… write a thank you note!  No matter how you think the interview went, believe you landed the job, or if you don’t want the position anymore; you need to send a thank you letter or email.  Taking a few moments to thank someone for taking the time out of their day to see if you were a good fit for the organization can never be a bad thing and shows that you have manners!  Because if we are being honest here, the interview isn’t really over until they receive the thank you note!  According a recent Career Builder survey, employers are 22% less likely to hire someone who does not send a follow up. But let’s face it… we all make mistakes when it comes to following up with potential employers.  There are some key do’s and don’t’s that we seem to fall into and we are going to break it all down and give you a template to ensure you’re sending a thorough follow up.  


Find a balance of selling yourself

There is a delicate balance on this one as you need to remember this is also a thank you note.  But you can use this as an opportunity to reiterate why you think your specific skills qualify you for the position and why you would like to work with the organization.  It helps to cite specific examples that you previously mentioned and seamlessly link them to the responsibilities of the job you’re applying for.  You can also link them directly to your LinkedIn profile, articles you’ve written or any other content that relates to the industry.

Do your research

Look back at your emails or research the company site to find the names and email addresses of everyone who interviewed you.  Make sure you send them each a personalized email with the following information:

  • Their correct name in the beginning of the email
  • Succinct subject line with the position title, your name and thank you
  • One item they mentioned that caught your attention during the interview
  • Sincere thank you for taking the time to speak with you
  • Why you think you’re qualified for the role
  • How they can reach you for additional information

Send your thank you note immediately

I am still a fan of a good old fashioned thank you card but do also appreciate an email.  If you intend to send a card, make sure you have them addressed with a stamp on it and fill it out immediately after the interview and mail it right away or first thing in the morning.  You do not want to be sitting on the letter for days as you never know how long it will take to get there.  If you’re sending an email, make sure you send it that evening or earlier.    


Harass the interviewer.

We all get it, you want to know if you got the job but be patient!  Give the organization some time to review your information, interview other candidates and speak with other members of the organization.  If you don’t hear from them in time frame they mentioned, you can send a follow up email but give them time to respond.  I’ve been on committees where I’ve received phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn requests and it’s honestly just annoying!  

Forget to proofread.

With it being such a quick turnaround it can be easy to forget to proofread but this is essential.  I’ve received emails before with the wrong name, incorrect organization and just flat out huge spelling errors.  Spell check is your best friend along with having someone else read the thank you note over just to ensure it makes sense.

Neglect to send a letter.

Whatever you need to do.. set a reminder on your phone, post it on the mirror or email reminder but don’t forget to send the actual letter.  At this point, employers expect something from you and it’s a missed opportunity to sell yourself one more time.  A follow up is expected and taken into consideration as part of the interview.

Stop searching for other jobs.

Yes, you might have interviewed for your dream role but who knows if you’re going to get the position.  Don’t halt your job search all together and hope for the best with this role.  Continue on as usual, send out resumes to positions you’re interested in and keep interviewing.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on this one but I’ve seen many people stop their search all together to find out they didn’t get the job and miss out on some other great opportunities.

Thank you note Template

Now that we have all the do’s and don’t’s down it’s time to put it all together.  Feel free to use this template for your next letter. Subject Line: Thank you  Dear (use appropriate title and name for each interviewer), It was a pleasure speaking with you today regarding the (position) at (company name).  I enjoyed hearing your perspective on (cite an example they mentioned that peaked our interest).

Meeting with you has also provided more insight as to how my strengths and experiences would be a good match for this position.  As we discussed, (give a specific example from your experience that specifically relates to something you will be doing in this role and why it would be a good match).

I look forward to (cite specific plans of action you had in mind if you get the position using “pain point” examples from the interview). Thank you again for taking the opportunity to interview me and I look forward to hearing from you (time frame they mentioned). If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (phone, email). Best, Name LinkedIN  What is one thing you’ve added to your thank you letter that set you apart from the rest?  

Alissa Carpenter

Alissa Carpenter

Professional Trainer, Speaker and Career Coach at Everything's Not OK and That's OK
Alissa Carpenter offers professional development and career exploration to companies, alumni groups, student advising units, and individuals across the country. She works to enhance team communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills with an upbeat personality and true passion for working with others to set and achieve goals.Alissa has an MEd in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education, is a Gallup-Certified Clifton Strengths Coach and is certified in the Strong Interest inventory.
Alissa Carpenter

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