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Job Interview Advice: Always Follow up with a Letter
Do not let more than two business days elapse before typing up and sending out your job interview thank you letters. Examples are plentiful and this sample interview thank you letters template highlights how to go about expressing gratitude to a hiring manager or interviewer while underscoring the applicant’s enthusiasm for the opportunity.
The reasons for mailing this letter are plentiful but there are three that make the top of the list:
- Showcases that an applicant understands ‘how’ the business world works. Following up a meeting with a job interview thank you letter is an unspoken rule that separates the newbie who spurns tradition from the professional who knows how the game is played. It may seem like a waste of time, especially in a modern society where letter writing has become somewhat of a lost art, but for the go-getter, mastering this task is a must.
- Puts the resume to the top of the pile. Human Resources managers maintain meticulous files and any form of correspondence is kept with the initial application and resume. If a resume is in a stack of 200 pieces of paper just like it, the need to file job interview thank you letters properly might just propel it to the top. Once there, it can again get the attention of the hiring manger.
- Highlights an ancillary skill or specialized training that did not get proper play during the interview. This is sometimes the case when advancement opportunities are discussed during the meeting. An applicant may remember some training or hands-on experience that could be useful, but was not mentioned due to excitement or nervousness.
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What about Emailing the Thank You Letter?
Even though it is possible to email the letter, it is more professional to send a hard copy. In this manner there is no risk of having it appear unformatted at the other end or simply end up getting lost. Moreover, a tangible piece of paper demands action (such as filing); an electronic bit of communication can be kept indefinitely without ever eliciting any action.
In addition, using the mail leaves the email option open for a future inquiry about an application status. All that being said, at the end of the day it is better to send an email version of a thank you letter than nothing at all! Thus, if the option is email or nothing at all, head for the computer.
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Phrases That Work
Examples of thank you letters for job interview follow-up always stress the following:
- Formally address the hiring manager by title and last name
- Make a note of the date of the interview
- Express gratitude for the meeting
Above and beyond these post-job interview tips, there are other suggestions and phrases that a successful letter must contain:
- Highlight the date of availability to begin working. A good phrase to use is “I am available to begin working for (name of company) on (date)." This helps the hiring manager envision the applicant in the position; it takes the ‘if’ out of the hiring decision and replaces it with a ‘when.’ It is a bit of a power play gamble, but in the right circumstances this confidence sets apart the meek applicant from the go-getter who is likely to get the job done.
- Remind the interviewer of a desirable professional skill. For example, an interviewer who is talking with 50 to 100 job applicants about a receptionist position will find that the qualifications are pretty much the same across the board. Highlighting the skill of being able to take short-hand dictation is sure to set the applicant apart from the rest, especially since it is a valuable -- but somewhat rare -- skill when manning a busy phone and welcoming clients.
- Underscore applicable training or education, especially if it is related only tangentially. A good example is the would-be retail manager who can point to a training course in project management or total quality management. Dale Carnegie training classes also shine in this setting.
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Phrases to Avoid
Of course, there are also some phrases that do not work in this setting. It is curious to see them included in some older sample thank you letters -- after job interview success – as they actually sound overly stilted or simply trite. Avoid the following:
- Preprinted thank-you cards
- Handwritten notes on standard notepaper
- Overly familiar expressions of gratitude, such as “you have such a cool office" or “thanks a bunch"
- Wordy letters that exceed two to three paragraphs
- Form letters; while they are simpler to use for the applicant, they are so generic that they do not truly fulfill the purpose of a follow-up letter
Even though no explanation of job interview thank you letter examples can be completely exhaustive in touching on all the variables, following the guidelines set forth previously betters an applicant’s odds of avoiding a faux pas.
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“Woman typing on a laptop" by Matthew Bowden/Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woman-typing-on-laptop.jpg