Even if you’re confident that you’ve just aced your interview, you’re not done yet. A great thank you note can reiterate your interest in the position and make a long-lasting impression on recruiters.

Sending a thank you note after an interview isn’t only a matter of etiquette – it’s a smart strategy. According to a 2011 survey, 86% of recruiters view a lack of a thank you note as a negative. More specifically, they take it as a sign that the candidate lacks follow-through. A further 56% claim it shows that the candidate isn’t enthusiastic about the position.

The question is, how do you write a great thank you letter? Read on…

Email or old school?

There’s no rule that says email is the only way to go. In some situations, a handwritten note might actually have a much greater impact. For example, someone hiring for a stiff, suit-and-tie law firm would probably be impressed with a handwritten thank you note.

old school

Keep in mind, however, that email works just fine in most situations, as long as you make sure to use a formal, professional tone and format.

Who should get a thank you note?

If you were interviewed by multiple recruiters, everyone who was present in the room with you should get a thank you note. The only exception to this rule is a panel interview where participants joined through Skype or by phone. That’s when you can send a single post-interview thank you email addressed to everyone.

Get the right email addresses

You might not have the email addresses for everyone who interviewed you. Don’t worry.

You can send one email to the person whose address you have, adding a postscript to request that they forward the email to other people. Alternatively, you can request the addresses of other interviewers to send them personalized messages.

If you don’t have any email addresses, reach out to the person who organized your interview and ask them for the hiring manager’s email address. You can also call the front desk and ask for relevant contact information. If the receptionist insists that they can’t give you company email addresses, ask whether you may leave a letter for the right person.

How soon should you send a thank you note?

You need to send a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview, even if it means sending it after working hours. If you go for a handwritten thank you letter, don’t forget that snail mail might take two or three days to arrive. You might be tempted to write a thank you note before the interview and leave it at the reception desk on your way out right after the meeting. This is a bad idea.

To deliver an effective, personalized note, you need to reflect on the conversation and pick out the right elements.

How to write a thank you email

Avoid generic thank you templates or samples. You took the time to tailor your resume to the job posting, so your thank you note needs to be personalized as well.

Remember, the point of sending it is to help you stand out as a unique candidate with impeccable manners. The key is to make it short and sweet. Roughly 200 words should be enough to accomplish these three goals:

  • Express your gratitude for the opportunity.
  • Mention a project or solution you’ve discussed to emphasize the value you’d bring to the company.
  • Refer to a topic you discussed, or mention something that was left out during the interview.

And when it comes to tone, it’s a good idea to be conversational but still a bit formal. The degree of formality should be similar to what you experienced during your interview.

Use the three Ws

Writers and journalists use the three Ws technique to deliver relevant and engaging content. Follow their example to craft your thank you letter:

  • Who
    That’s the hiring manager. What value can you bring to them in your thank you note? What kind of letter would they appreciate? You might be tempted to deliver a summary of your skills and qualifications. Don’t forget, though, that recruiters have already read your resume. Your thank you note should focus on them.
  • What
    The central object of your thank you letter should be to emphasize your value to the company. Show how you might be an asset to their organization by helping with a project or finding a solution to a problem. Did you mention that you’d accomplish something for the company during the interview? This is the best time to reiterate how you plan to accomplish that.It’s also a good idea to mention any personal topics brought up during the interview. Did you discuss any shared hobbies or interests? Mentioning this can create a stronger bond with the hiring manager.
  • When
    Encourage the hiring manager to get in touch with you if they need more information, and let them know when you plan to follow up. Mention when you expect to hear back from them, and when they can expect a follow-up call from you.

Key takeaway

If you send a thank you note shortly after your interview, you will make a great impression on recruiters.

Thank the hiring manager for their time and remind them why your resume got their attention in the first place. Remember, though, to make it personal and authentic. If you can pull it off, you’ll stay in their memory long after that final handshake.


About Natalie Severt 

Natalie is a writer at Uptowork – Your Resume Builder. She has always loved helping others create successful resumes, and she now shares her knowledge and experience with readers around the world.  Natalie spends her free time eating tacos, reading complicated novels, and binge-watching TV series.