How to Write a Powerful "Thank You" Letter

You may think that hiring managers do not have enough time to read resumes and cover letters thoroughly, so sending a “thank you” note would be excessive and bothersome. However, in most cases, a note would not take too long for one to look through (and you to write!), so do not be swayed by recommendations not to write one. This kind of note can really help you to continue building a strong and lasting relationship with an important person.

Why you should write a note

Just imagine a situation where there is a vacancy in a prestigious company. Hundreds of applicants have already been interviewed and sifted out. Only two contenders have made it to the “final round”, but the employer still does not know who to pick. They both have similar professional and personal qualities, and both could fit well in the company. Who does the hiring manager take? Now, there is an opportunity for one candidate to inch ahead. He or she sends a “Thank you for your consideration note”, whilst the other remains silent after the interview. It is obvious that the candidate who demonstrated thought and gratitude by sending such a letter will receive a place at the company, other things being equal. The thank you letter has a hidden meaning: showing that you are grateful is important.

Is it effective to use standard “thank-you” note templates?

It is without a doubt useful to get familiar with some samples on the web just to have the first glimpse of how a thank you note looks and how it is written. However, there is a huge problem to beware of. Such samples on the internet are often, with other job-related documents, very standard and formal. It is easy for a lot of people to have the same note through going through the same search criteria on a search engine. Recruiters do not want to see the same copied letters again and again, so make sure yours is different. Use your intuition to determine how you can stand out from the crowd.

Moreover, such repetitive notes are easily forgotten by recruiters- so, you run the risk of recruiters forgetting you as a person too. This is dangerous for your job prospects, as you would want a recruiter to instantly think of you as a candidate when weighing up and evaluating their final options.

Typical “thank-you” note

Here is how a generic thank-you note may look like:

WRONG

Dear Mr.Brown,
Thank you for the interview we had yesterday. I appreciated the facilities tour and the opportunity to meet with the Manufacturing Supervisor, Mr. Spencer. 
I remain enthusiastic about beginning my engineering career in the Production Department at Widget Corporation. 
Again, thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Here we can see that the content of the note slightly echoes other documents (resume, CV, cover letter) that you had sent before the company staff actually interviewed you. Do not be afraid of being repetitive here- it is absolutely normal to as you should provide some brief information about your skills and relevant experience in each separate document just to remind the employer what the text is about.

Otherwise, it seemingly looks like a good letter. However as we said before, a generic letter is not going to impress anybody. Formally, there is nothing wrong with this sample - everything seems traditional and correct, but if you read it once again you will be able to discover that something very significant is missing...

Personalized “Thank-you” note

Look at the next example and compare it to the previous one:

RIGHT

Dear Mr.Brown,
It was a pleasure speaking with you regarding employment opportunities at Wouters Ltd. As we discussed, I am interested in providing Management Consulting services.
My time at Wouters Ltd. reinforced my initial perception that your organization has a philosophy matching my interests and abilities. I believe my operational and leadership experience aligns well with your current goals. Please consider my qualifications if a suitable opening becomes available.
If necessary, I would be glad to resend my resume or to provide any further information you might need regarding my candidacy. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Let us figure out what exactly is improved in this letter.

First of all, you point out that regardless of their future decision, it is a pleasure for you to meet such personalities in real life and learn from their vast experience. It does not matter if this statement is completely true for you. It may be, for instance, that you possess more knowledge than them in some topics. Now though, you have the chance to show it in practice. Assess their personal and professional qualities and give them praise. Include all the names of the interviewers if more than one were present, or even better send a unique message to each one of them. This always works - people have spent their time on you, so it would be very pleasant for them if you notice some of their strong sides and briefly tell them about it the note.

It is also good to mention your positive impression of the entire company. Point out that you fully understand their current status, needs, and priorities. Unobtrusively hint once again that your candidature is going to be their best choice, despite the fact that you know how many applicants they interact with.

How to improve it even more

Do not forget to express your excitement about the future possibility of working and self-developing as part of their team. Try to be specific and concise, and utilize a short set of relevant keywords in the text so that your abilities and competencies would be emphasized even further.

Remember that one of the primary goals is to remind the interviewer about yourself in this document, so it is advised to include a specific day of the week when the meeting took place (as we see in this example). By doing so, you increase the chances of not being forgotten, providing you did not take too long to deliver a note after the actual event. You will agree that it is ridiculous to write something along the lines of, “Thank you for speaking with me on Wednesday two weeks ago”. Not too many people will be able to recall the events of two weeks ago, so it is necessary to send the message as soon as possible (we advise a maximum of three days).

RIGHT

Thank you for speaking with me yesterday.

WRONG

Thank you for speaking with me last Monday.

Timing is important

A lot of people are genuinely clueless of the necessity of composing this kind of message until they actually leave an office of the company after the interview. Then, when they tell somebody about the visit they suddenly are asked a question “Have you already sent a thank-you note?”. The usual reaction is like “A note? Do I really need to send one?”. An “emergency research on the topic” and rushed piece of writing usually follows. It is important to understand that there is a very small chance of doing something successfully if you are not prepared for it. Thus. reading this article before the actual process will surely help you very much.

In addition, make sure that your note is no more than one standard page (which is similar to the most of the other job-related documents).

Special tricks

We already know that the amount of free space on the page is strictly limited and there is no way to include everything you would like to tell the hiring managers about your meeting. Despite this, we highly recommend you to write a line or two concerning the brightest moment of the interview. Try to recall whether you had such a moment or not.

Usually, people do- it could be anything from the sudden news about unexpected, valuable future perspectives for you in that position, to discovering that some of your potential colleagues were your friends in the high school. Whatever it may be, be sure to mention such a highlight as they probably also remember that moment.

Keep in mind that you have already presented yourself during your interview and such a note can enhance your friendly image, or even create it if you feel that the interview has not been good enough to land you the job.

TIP

Try to use some distinctive phrases that you have previously used in a real conversation to make the reader recognize you by the way you put words together - in the perfect case he or she should instantly recall your face and voice while reading the letter.

Alternatives to 'Thank you for your time and consideration'

It sometimes happens that, directly after an interview, something drastically changed in your mind or life and you decided not to chase that position any longer.

For example, you could find a different exceptional offer, chose to relocate to another city or part of the world, or simply got disappointed in the company that you had idealized before your direct interaction its employees. Do such situations occur in real life? Quite often, so you better be prepared for them. Whatever happens, you still have to compose a “thank-you” note. Maybe something will change again in the future, and you will decide to apply for the same position again one more time, but even if you know you certainly will not, it is useful to retain a good attitude towards yourself because nobody knows for sure when, where and under which circumstances you might meet those same people again. And if it comes down to it at some point in your life, you already have the right connections to possibly get what you need.

The content of the document naturally differs in this case - you have to politely explain why you are no longer interested, give thanks for the conversation, wish them all the best, and say that you will be glad to meet them again someday.

In a more common situation when you have not changed your mind about that job the note will help to reaffirm your interest in the discussed position and remind the employer once again of your eagerness to work there.

The ending of the document

Sometimes directness in formulating your wishes can be effective. For example, it is good to write something like this closer to the ending of the text:

“Please feel free to call me at 333-333-333 if needed”.

You may think that because your contact information is already included at the top of the page, you will not need to write such a line. But actually, it is reasonable because here you show yourself as an open person and encourage the interviewers to actually contact you. Now, if they have any personal or technical questions concerning your competencies, experience or future plans they will surely call you and discuss required details, while without that brief remark they would probably not bother and focus on somebody else.

You can end your thank you letter with a typical sentence to show your deepest appreciation and friendliness. These expressions will present you as someone caring about other person's time and effort.

  • Thank you for your consideration of my application.
  • Thank you very much for your consideration.
  • Thank you in advance for your consideration. I am looking forward to your quick reply.

Your understanding is at its best now

On the web right now, we bet that at this moment there is no more complete and detailed guide that explains how to write a ‘Thank-you” note. We like to think that we have covered all the possible issues that may interest you in the process of writing this note. Of course, everything evolves, and we will definitely have some new ideas to extend our mutual understanding on the topic in the future, so be sure to check out the updated version of this article once again.

By now you have gained up-to-date methods of composing the most effective “thank-you” note to stand out amongst your possible competitors, so do not hesitate to implement your new knowledge, send this email to your employer or business partner, and get the response you need to get a job you have always dreamt of. Good luck!

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