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Thank You Letter After an Interview

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After you've taken part in a job interview, don't overlook one last step -- writing a thank you letter. Before you leave the interview, get the contact information for people with whom you interviewed, then send a thank you letter to each. In addition, send one to anyone who referred you to the position or recommended that you be considered.

Why Letters Still Matter

Sending a thank you note is not going to guarantee that you'll get the job, but it may help convey a positive image. It's part of the overall good impression you want to give a potential employer, says Alison Green of the Ask a Manager blog. Writing a letter shows that you're really interested in the job and that you care about the little details, Green says. What's more, it's a chance to restate your qualifications or mention a qualification that you didn't describe during the interview.

Handwritten or Typed?

A handwritten letter may have the greatest effect, although email or handwritten letters can be appropriate. If you've already been communicating with a hiring manager via email, it may be the best way to ensure that that person receives the message. Still, you might also do both, so that you're sure the person receives your letter one way or another.

What to Say

Your thank you letter doesn't have to be a long tome. In the first paragraph, remind the recipient what job you interviewed for and when. You might start by saying, "I wanted to reach out to say thank you for the opportunity to interview for X position on Wednesday." Discuss details you didn't mention during the interview or something you've learned since then. For example, if you discussed a book that you read but couldn't remember a certain detail, now's the time to mention it. This can help jog the interviewer's memory about who you are. Mention a few key details about your qualifications, but don't go overboard. A few sentences is more than adequate. Then sign off cordially. For letters to people who recommended you, a simple thank you and an update of what happened is appropriate.

Get It Out Quickly

Timeliness is key. If possible, write the letter right after the interview, when the details about what you talked about will be the most fresh in your mind. Mail or deliver it to arrive two days or so. If you're sending an email, don't send it as soon as you get home, as that can make it look like you haven't taken the time to think about what you were going to say, according to the Career Services website at Princeton University.