Once upon a time, almost anyone who could write, knew how to write a thank you note. But today, a well-written note is so rare that it places you ahead of the pack.
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The best thank you notes are short, sincere, and specific to each interview. So:
1. Be Prepared for Thank You Note Success
- Before going to your interview, buy an attractive blank note card from a card shop. No humor, and nothing fancy or with writing on the inside. This needs to reflect you, so keep the card simple and write your note in your own words.
- Take the card and a stamp with you to your interview.
- Be sure to ask your interviewer for their business card, so that you know where to send your thank you.
- After your interview, go sit quietly (if you’re an introvert, or want to take some notes) or call a friend (if you’re an extrovert, or want to talk things out) and think through what went well and what you’d like to do differently next time.
Now use this simple approach to craft your note:
2. Start By Thinking About Your Audience
In this case, your “audience” is the person, or people, who interviewed you. To put them solidly in mind, ask yourself:
- Did they enjoy our conversation?
- Where, in particular, did we connect?
- Was their interviewing style more on the “warm and friendly” or more on the “strictly business” end of the scale?
OK, got it? Now you’re ready to write.
For tips on how to think about your audience BEFORE the interview, check out my book INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF… NO, REALLY!
3. Use “The Rule of 3″ to Write Your Note
Three sentences, plus a date, a greeting, and a close, are all you need to get this job done.
At the top of the note, in the right-hand corner, write today’s date.
Then, on the left, write, “Dear [Their Name].” If the person was super friendly, a first name will do; it they were super formal, use their title. In between “Mr.” or “Ms.” and their last name is correct.
Sentence: #1 Thank the person for meeting with you.
- If you liked them, or if they were particularly friendly, you can say something like “Thank you for making my interview today so pleasant.”
- If they were more businesslike, just say something like, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.”
Sentence #2: Mention something that you liked about the interview.
- If they were personal or friendly, say something personal, such as, “I particularly enjoyed our talk about [whatever you—and they—particularly enjoyed talking about].”
- If they were more businesslike, say something businesslike, such as, “I was glad to learn more about [name of organization].”
Sentence #3: Repeat your interest in the job (but don’t repeat your qualifications or act as if the interview is still going on!).
- Friendly version: “I would be thrilled to work for [name of organization], and hope to meet you again as a colleague.”
- Business version: “I am now even more interested in working with [name of organization], and appreciate your help with the process.”
The Rule of 3 can also help you PREPARE and ACE your answers to interview questions.To learn how, check out my book INTERVIEW LIKE YOURSELF… NO, REALLY!
Here’s what those two notes look like when you put it all together
Thank you for making my interview today so pleasant. I particularly enjoyed our talk about [whatever you—and they—particularly enjoyed talking about]. I would be thrilled to work for [name of organization], and hope to meet you again as a colleague.
More Businesslike Version:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I was glad to learn more about [name of organization]. I am now even more interested in working with [name of organization], and appreciate your help with the process.
Sign it “Sincerely,” then print your name so that you’re sure they can read it. If you have a business card, include it.
Should I Also Send an eMail Thank You Note?
There’s nothing wrong with saying “thank you” twice — unless you bore or annoy the person you’re thanking.
So if you’d like to send an email while your meeting is still fresh in your interviewer’s mind, do the thinking that’s described above first. Then write 1 or 2 brief, positive comments that aren’t worded in the same way as your written note, and click “send.”
And Last But Not Least…
Go home, put your feet up, and have a glass of wine or hot tea.
The hardest job in the world is looking for a job. [tweet that]
So congratulate yourself on a job well done today, and be kind to yourself while you’re waiting for the results.
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