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Sending a thank you letter after an interview shows the employer that you are appreciative, considerate and well-mannered. The gesture can help you stand out from similarly qualified candidates. However, it's important to send the letter in a timely manner. It is more effective if you send it soon after the interview, when the memory of the meeting is still fresh in the mind of the employer.
Many experts recommend sending a thank you letter within 24 to 48 hours after the meeting. If you are unable to do so within this time, send it as close to the date of the interview as possible. It's best if the letter arrives within a week of the interview. Although it's never too late to send a thank you letter, it would be too late for the letter to be effective if it arrives after the employer has made a hiring decision.
Sending the Letter Early
Sending a letter soon after the interview could place you in a favorable position but it could count against you if you send it immediately afterward. This gives the impression that you haven't taken the time to think about the meeting. Wait at least four hours before you send an email. You can prepare and mail a letter the same day but avoid trying to save time by dropping it off with the receptionist.
Your thank you letter should express appreciation for the employer's consideration, emphasize your interest in the position and the company and remind the interviewer of your qualifications for the job. You can make the letter personal by referring to aspects of the conversation that would help the employer remember you. This is also an opportunity to include information that you forgot to discuss during the meeting that could improve your chances. If several people interviewed you, send a personalized thank you note to each one.
A typed letter is traditional but you also could send a handwritten letter or express your thanks via email. Some employers prefer to receive their mail digitally. It's also acceptable to send your letter this way if this has been your primary means of contact with your interviewer. Consider supplementing your hard copy letter with an emailed version if there are time constraints. For instance, you can send both if it has been more than two business days after the interview or if you know that the employer will not receive the mailed letter in time.