Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

Want to Stand Out? Send A Thank You Note

Sometimes, a good thank you note can mean the difference between being invited back for a second interview and winding up in the "Thanks, but no thanks" pile.

"The most sincere ones are hand-written on a card and mailed," says David Clarkson, vice president of human resources at Vitale, Caturano & Company, a Boston CPA firm. "There's nothing wrong with an e-mail, but a written thank-you note comes across as more sincere."

Is your handwriting illegible? It's okay to send a note written in a legible, cursive typeset, says Mike Beckmann, director of talent acquisition at Freddie Mac in McLean, Va. "A well though-out thank-you note should be properly addressed, include a specific greeting and narrative reflection relating to the dialogue between the candidate and the interviewer."

Have Something to Say

Customize each thank-you note for the person receiving it, suggests Roberta Chinsky Matuson, principal of Human Resource Solutions in Northampton, Mass. "For example, the note you send to the company recruiter may focus on how you will fit into the organization, while the note sent to the (hiring) manager should include reminders about your accomplishments at your current or previous accounting jobs," she says.

Small talk can also generate thank-you note topics, Clarkson observes. If the interviewer mentioned liking Thai food, for instance, the note can mention that a new Thai restaurant opened near his office.

Put a Stamp on It

All three experts recommend mailing thank-you notes the old fashioned way. "Don't send thank-you note through e-mail. There are too many opportunities for this important note to get lost in cyberspace," says Matuson.

If your parents raised you well, you know that thank-you notes need to be mailed promptly. Beckmann thinks the note must go out within 24 hours of your interview, though Matuson says two days after the interview is the final deadline.

Do It Right

No matter what your age, a poorly written thank-you note can have a severe impact on your ability to land the job. "Pay particular attention to punctuation and spelling. Have a friend proofread the note before you send it," Matuson suggests.

Just how much will sending a thank-you note set you apart? The answer may depend upon your age. Clarkson estimates that about 85 percent of experienced hires follow-up with a thank-you note, but only 50 percent of recent college graduates do. So, for a student, sending a thank-you note can signal sincere interest in working for a company.

Of all the things one does during the job-hunting process, there's perhaps no task that can be done as quickly and easily as writing the thank-you note. When done right, the two minutes it takes to write a sincere thank you today can pay off with an offer of a lasting job tomorrow.

Ever sent a thank-you note for a job interview? How come? Did it help? Post your comments below.

AUTHORDona DeZube Insider Comment
  • Wa
    Wallstreet Alternatives
    8 February 2011

    After reading this, I understand both sides points. When I first graduated college, I tried to set myself a part by writing personal letters, however I have never had success with this method. Yes, I do have excellent penmanship if you are thinking this was it.

    I agree with the idea that, when sending via mail you do lose the time factor. I would recommend waiting until that late afternoon or evening to email the people you have met with. You would like this to be the last thing they read before they go home or one of the first when they walk in the morning.

  • Da
    13 October 2010

    I know! I know!!! Hand write a thank you note, scan it, and email the scanned image of the handwritten thank you note!

  • An
    19 September 2007

    I thought handwritten notes were for personal correspondence, and typed letters were for business correspondence. I would also say that e-mail should replace a typed letter for a thank-you note to an interviewer. You lose out on the timeliness factor otherwise.

  • df
    24 May 2007

    Send thank you notes within 24 hours after the interview via email if you can or voicemail if you can not figure out the email. Paper U.S. thank you notes will be read by the secretary since the boss is too busy to read his mail. That's what secretaries are there for - to do the stuff the boss is too lazy to do since he is out playing golf. I used to write paper thank you notes, but I find calling is better. It works best if you call at least 2 weeks after the interview to remind the interviewer that he does have a job that he still has not filled cuz he completely forgot about it. Paper thank you notes are for the birds. If the interviewer is busy losing the paper thank you notes, then he or she is in the wrong field and should not be in the financial services industry where everything should have gotten done yesterday and the interviewer is still looking for the perfect person 5 years AFTER the requisition was issued to HR. This is why lots of Harvard MBAs no longer want to work for employers, but would rather start their own business and get rid of the crap employers play - O, yes we did want to fill that job, but we completely forgot about it. This happens. Email thanks is fast

Sign up to our Newsletter

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs

Sign up to our Newsletter

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.