The thank-you letter is one of the most important, yet least used, tools in a job search. When well done, thank-you letters can establish goodwill, express appreciation, restate your interest and enthusiasm for the job, and strengthen your candidacy.
The basic rule of thumb is that everyone who helps you in any way gets a thank-you letter. When used to follow up on job interviews, thank-you letters should be sent within 24 hours to everyone who interviewed you. Also send a thank-you letter to each contact who granted you informational interviews and people who provided references for you.
A common question about thank-you letters is whether they should be emailed or hand-written and sent by "snail mail." While there is no standard rule, emailed thank-you letters are gaining acceptance and have the following advantages: they can be done relatively quickly, they can easily be filed electronically by the recipient, and they can be forwarded electronically by the recipient to other people at the hiring organization. Drawbacks are that emails may be perceived as less "personal," and may appear to take less effort (although every email letter you send should be written with extreme care!). Hand-written letters have the advantage of providing a tangible "product," suggest a higher level of care and a more personal touch which some employers do appreciate. However, sloppy or illegible handwriting can undo any positive effect. Hand-written thank-you letters may also take longer to reach the recipient, and necessitate the added steps involving envelopes, stamps, etc. Often, the choice of email vs "snail mail" is simply a judgement call, perhaps influenced by norms in the specific industry you're dealing with.
Components of a Thank-you Letter:
Name of Recipient
Title of Recipient
City, State, Zip
Dear [Name of Person]:
Make your thank-you letter warm and personal. Use this paragraph to express your sincere appreciation.
Reemphasize your strongest qualifications. Draw attention to the good match between your qualifications and the job requirements.
Reiterate your interest in the position. Use the opportunity to provide or offer supplemental information not previously given.
Restate your appreciation.
[Your Name Typed]
Sample Thank-you Letter:
2913 Baxter Road
Lowell, MA 01854
August 7, 2009
Dr. Julia Edmonds
Director of Engineering
Atlantic Engineering Systems, Inc.
1220 Warwick Ave.
Newport News, VA 23607
Dear Dr. Edmonds:
Thank you very much for interviewing me yesterday for the Associate Engineer position. I enjoyed meeting you and learning more about your research and design work.
As a result of our conversation, my enthusiasm for the position and my interest in working for AES are even stronger. My education and internship experiences appear to fit nicely with the job requirements and I'm sure that I could make a significant contribution to the firm.
I want to reiterate my strong interest in the position and in working with you and your staff. This opportunity is exactly what I am looking for and I would be happy to speak with you further about my qualifications for the job. Please feel free to call me at (978) 555-1212, or by email at Fred@myemail.edu if I can provide you with any additional information.
Again, thank you for the interview and your consideration.