Post-Interview Thank You Letters – Yes, They Matter!
In a world that has grown more and more ungrateful, thank you letters are increasingly important. They are important for you as a candidate, not because the thank you will land you the job, but because it gives you an opportunity to give the company “a tangible reason for wanting to talk with you some more,” says Tom Hannemann* on LinkedIn’s Resume Writer & Career Coaches group.
I’ve always appreciated Hannemann’s insights. He points out that a thank you letter should not be a “content-free, smarmy and ingratiating” communication. It is your opportunity to add something to the conversation while “re-affirming continued interest in the role, and why you want to progress further in the process.”
If you asked the right questions, you should have gained some new insight into the company’s needs during the interview. That additional information becomes an opportunity.
- To emphasize something from your skill set that makes you a good fit
- To mention that you’ve been thinking about a solution to a need that was discussed in the interview and would like to share your ideas in a follow-up interview
Hanneman says, “Don’t make the focus of your follow-up letter/note about gratitude.” Focus on adding to the conversation. By doing this, you are showing a higher level of courtesy than an ingratiating message will every convey.
Never forget that business owners and HR staff are busy people. Make your thank you note something worth reading. Make sure you are conveying “a tangible reason for continuing the discussion.”
At the same time, there are interviews you walk out of feeling like there’s nothing more to say. Still send that thank you.
You enter the interview as someone who has something to offer the employer. You will become a partner with the employer in promoting the success of the business if you are hired. Use your cover letter as an opportunity to emphasize how a partnership between you would lead to benefits for the company.
Find at least one thing worth re-emphasizing, whether you feel it will make a difference or not. At the very least, it will strengthen your communication skills. At the best, it might surprise you by landing you the job.
* Note: All quotes are taking from comments left by Tom Hannemann on the discussion “OK resume experts, so what do you think about post-interview thank you notes?”