The Art and Science of the Interview Thank You Note

The thoughtful post-interview thank you note matters more than ever in an era of e-communication.

Professional man leaving an interview

The human brain is programmed to compresses experiences into three phases: The beginning, the peak and the end. In the case of job interviews, we often put emphasis on the first impressions and how you present yourself in the interview. The final handshake is an afterthought. But how you follow-up afterward can play a crucial role in how you are remembered. Sending a proper thoughtful thank you note can make all the difference. Here are tips on how to make the most of a post-interview thank you. 
 
Put it on paper 
It’s easy to dash off a quick thank-you note via email right after you leave an interview. But an email is apt to get lost in the pile of electronic communications, especially if it’s not urgent. Instead, take the time to write your thoughts down on paper. In today’s electronic-dominated communication, a tangible paper note has the power to cut through the clutter. Writing out your note on paper will also have the benefit of forcing you to be more thoughtful about what you’re writing.  
 
Personalize it 
A thank you note can be forgettable or memorable. The difference is personalization. Instead of a generic “thank you for your time,” tell the person what you appreciated about your meeting. What quality about the encounter stood out in your mind? Was there a moment that demonstrated why you want to work there? What do you want the interviewer to know you took away from the interview? Assume others are also sending a thank you note, and personalize yours so it stands out as unique. 
 
Don’t copy and paste 
If you’re sending more than one thank you note, take the extra time to personalize each one. You sound disingenuous if your recipients compare notes and realize you copied and pasted. 
 
Be real but be neat 
Writing out your note in longhand is a small window into your personality. Penmanship may be a dying art, but making sure your writing is legible and neat will help put your best (type)face forward. Hurried chicken scratch writing won’t reflect well on you. Take care especially to make sure your signature is readable, so they know who sent the note. 
 
Extend your thanks
You don’t have to thank just the people with the loftiest titles from your interview. Who else helped you? Did you have a receptionist help with your scheduling? Did you privately talk with any current employees to get a sense of the workplace culture? Take a moment to thank these people, too. Not only is it a nice gesture, these connections can put in a good word for you. Sometimes it’s people on the periphery that can make all the difference in a close decision. 
 
More Interview Tips To Help You Land Your Next Job: 
How To Negotiate Salary Like A Pro
How to Improve Your Body Language During An Interview
What to Do When You Don't Get the Job

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