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The Eternal Importance of the Thank You Note

One thing people ask me a lot is about the way to properly follow up after an interview, particularly the question “do people still send thank you notes?”. YESSSSSS!

Sadly, the thank you note has become a thing of the past for too many people out there, and along with that, many of the thank you emails from those we do get them from end up being – like all too many cover letters – very, very generic.

Why send a cover letter or a thank you note if it’s simply regurgitating what you sent every other employer? It’s a waste of time to do that, and frankly, doesn’t show a hell of a lot about who you are as a candidate. What did you get/learn out of the interview? Was there anything you might want to add that you forgot to while you were there (most of us remember something awesome we could have included after we get home…)? Are you more interested than when you started the process because of the interview? Why? The thank you email is a *perfect* way to cover these areas, not to mention show respect for those who took the time out of their schedule(s) to meet with you.

Just like I mentioned about cover letters in my Top Ten Tips , thank you notes all too often become “an exercise in futility for the hiring teams, rather than serving as a great example of their ability to communicate.”  So with that, here are a couple more things to keep in mind as well:

  1. Send this via email, not snail mail, within 24 hours of the interview . The world, believe it or not, often moves faster than our beloved US Postal Service. Get that thank you in before they make their decision on you! Showing comprehension of and excitement for that particular job at that particular company makes a difference.

  2. And yes, you should thank not only the hiring manager, but their team and the recruiter as well. The hiring team provides the feedback to the manager, and recruiter is doing a lot of the legwork to make sure you are not only visible to that hiring manager, as well as getting all the logistics coordinated. Along with that, hiring managers very often trust both for their opinions on how candidates conduct themselves and if they’d be a good culture fit. Show everyone the same courtesy by including all participants in your thank you notes.

(HINT if it’s not on your to-do list, at the end of the interview if you haven’t been given the hiring manager’s business card, ask him/her for their email address “so you can follow up with any questions that may come up”.)

Here’s a FANTASTIC example below of a cover letter from Business Insider that exemplifies a strong thank you email:

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