Your Strategic Thank You Note

Make the most of your interview; follow-up with a strategically written “thank you” message.

Opinions swirl as to if a post-interview thank you message is worth the applicant’s time. If you make the most of your message….it absolutely is! It’s polite. It’s professional. And it just might tip the scale in your favor.

By: Jodie Rettinhouse

Your Strategic Message

Bottom line, most applicants will simply write 2-3 sentences of a varied version of “thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.” How boring! Yes, you should say something thankful and appreciative, that’s customary, but why not also take one more opportunity to show you’re a fit for the position?

I’m guessing some of you feel that if a “thank you” has strategy, it is disingenuous. I disagree! We are always sincere, but this message is yet another opportunity for you to show you are a good match for the job. And if you’re like most (all?) of us, typically after an interview you think, “Oh shoot, I forgot to mention….” So, in addition to saying some version of “thank you,” you might add to the middle of your note:

1) One of your strengths and why it will benefit the employer.

“After reflecting on the work ethic you value, I’m confident my experience at XYZ Christmas Tree Farm where I worked 60-hours-a week in snowy conditions, demonstrates my dedication to getting the job done, no matter the work environment.”

2) Something showing you understand the company/job.

“I couldn’t help but notice the busy, team-oriented setting in your office. This is exactly the type of work environment I am used to, and where I thrive. It makes me even more excited to move forward in the interview process.”

3) A value-added example you forgot to mention in the interview.

“I realized during my interview, I did not mention the customer networking event I initiated, planned and implemented when I was a sales rep at XYZ. It created a huge added-value for our clients, and resulted in a 22% increase in business from attendees in the month following the event. If hired, I’d be excited to take charge of a similar initiative for ABC.”

4) Third-party validation.

“I look forward to moving to the next step in the interview process, in which case, I’m sure you’ll be checking my references. I thought I’d give you a head start by enclosing a recommendation letter from my former manager at XYZ Company, mentioning my teamwork, innovation and client-centered attitude, qualities I know you value.” (And then of course enclose the letter).

Electronic message (email or LI message), Hand-Written Card or Word-Processed Letter

How should you deliver this cordial and strategically-crafted communication?

An electronic message is often the timeliest, and along with a word-processed letter is a great choice if you have poor penmanship. If you forgot to get your interviewer’s email address, you can ask your main contact or choose to send a card or letter in the mail. Be sure to send a snail mail version ASAP, or, immediately following your interview, pop over to a coffee shop and write your note, then deliver it to the reception desk before you go home. This provides a wow-factor and timeliness speaks volumes. A hand-written card is a nice personal touch, and so few people receive non-electronic messages these days; it can make you stand out!

But, bottom-line, whatever your medium….just be sure to send a thank you note for any job you really want.

Please, no gifts. Never, ever give gifts

Just to be clear, giving your interviewer flowers, a gift card or item worth more than a professional $4 card, is simply not appropriate. And in many instances there may be a company policy that prevents the interviewer from accepting gifts, anyway.

An original, strategically written note delivered in a timely manner is the name of the game, job seekers, good luck!