Last week we covered how to end your interview with a bang. Since the interview, you’ve decompressed, crossed your fingers and hoped to at least hear back from the company. One common thought that may creep into your mind is,
What more could I have done?
Sending a personalized thank-you note is one more step that many young applicants neglect; it has the dual effect of separating you from the pack and nudging the employer to get back to you sooner. Here’s how to craft the perfect letter.
The purpose of your letter is to show you care about the little things, that you haven’t taken the interview opportunity for granted. Go back into your memory and mention the unique aspects of the interview: how was it organized? What struck you about the company culture? How did they describe the day-to-day? Were they passionate about their work?
Expressing what you particularly were impressed with tells them that you pay attention, which in turn will make them pay attention to you!
This is also your chance to clarify a specific part of the interview or something you said that, in hindsight, had the possibility of being misconstrued. However…
Short + sweet
Do not write rambling paragraphs about your desperate desire to be a part of their team. Worse yet, don’t use the letter to “go deeper” into every little remark you regret making; you should have left everything on the table during the interview and made peace with it.
Maintain a positive tone and be as concise as possible. They will appreciate your acknowledgment of their busy schedules and you can avoid your letter being circulated as an office joke.
Hammer the strong points
Remember that particularly clever solution you gave to a hypothetical problem? The safe-for-work joke you made that didn’t fall flat? The coincidental connection you have to someone in the office?
Briefly reiterate your golden moment(s), but be careful so as not to seem pompous or entitled. Mention it matter-of-factly.
Use your discretion when choosing the structure and appearance of your letter. If the company/organization is smaller, you might make a solid impression by handwriting your letter on professional card stock and signing the bottom. If you went through a series of interviews or interviewed with a panel of employees, a digital copy might be more efficient and has a better chance of being CC’ed to a group.
Either way you choose, paying close attention to detail and consistency (grammatically, syntactically, logically) is the most important aspect in formatting and shows how much thought you’ve put into the hiring process.
Feel like you’ve missed your time window on sending your letter? It’s never too late to fire one off – even if you’ve already been denied the position. Showing appreciation goes a long way in the future and keeping your image in employers’ minds for future opportunity.