If you are smart, you did your homework before the interview, put your best foot forward during the meeting, and are now eager to close the deal. Take advantage of your second selling opportunity by writing a heartfelt thank you note.
For some job candidates the thank you note, usually an email today, is an antiquated social nicety that has long outlived its usefulness. For others it is an afterthought at best, something dashed off with little thought to its potential value. However, the savvy job seeker realizes that following up the interview with a thoughtful thank you is a chance to strengthen their candidacy. It is a chance to cement the deal or at the very least provide a reason to be included in second-round hiring conversations.
Just as a well-crafted cover letter is designed to introduce you and highlight your unique expertise for a specific job opportunity, a well-written thank you letter reinforces the value you bring to the organization.
What should it communicate?
The opening paragraph should convey a sense of genuine appreciation for time spent together, mention the position, and remind the hiring manager of your conversation.
Use the body of the letter to address the match between your qualifications and the job requirements. The position is open because the manager has a problem, challenge or need. That is the basis for the interview. When you sit down to compose the thank you note reflect on the hot button issues that emerged during your meeting. Ask yourself what was of most concern to your potential boss. Address the three or four most pressing items in the body of your note.
Use a bulleted approach to list the issues. For each, include an example from your background that demonstrates your experience solving the same or similar problem. Clearly articulating your expertise as it relates to the challenges posed by this job reinforces the hiring manager’s impression that you are the most qualified candidate for the position.
If you are kicking yourself after the interview for forgetting to mention a key qualification, or not fully answering a question, you can address it in the thank you letter. Rather than saying that you forgot to mention it, you can say that you thought of something else that may be relevant or, that you wanted to provide more detail to one of her questions. The thank you letter provides an opportunity to sell your qualifications again, clear up misperceptions and recover from missteps.
In the final paragraph reiterate the two or three most significant skills you bring to the company. Express confidence in your ability to make a worthwhile contribution and interest in taking the next step. Ask for the sale. The hiring manager needs to know that you are qualified and want the job!
Finally, send the email within 24 hours. Follow up by phone within two or three days to express your interest, share an insight from the interview, and see if you can answer any other questions about your background or experience.
©2021 Mary Jeanne Vincent. All rights reserved.