By: Alexandra Bradbury, DePaul University Organizational Communication major, American Studies major ’19 and Career Center Communications Assistant
It is not uncommon for a hiring manager to completely dismiss a candidate because they did not receive a thank you note. The interview isn’t over when you leave the room. Writing a post-interview thank you is essential to show your professionalism, writing skills, and character.
We spoke with Sherry D’Amico, Co-Founder and Consultant at The Etiquette School of Chicago, to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of post-interview thank you emails.
Make sure you send your thank you note within 24 hours of the interview. Hiring managers move quickly. Send your thank you as soon as possible to put yourself in the best position to be hired.
Use a professional subject line and email address
Your subject line will vary depending on the job industry and the tone of your interview. For example, if you are applying to a large company in the finance industry and your interview was formal, you’ll want a formal subject line, such as “Thank you – [Position Title].” If you are applying to a small technology start-up and your interview was informal, your subject line can be more relaxed, such as “Great speaking with you.” Make sure you are using a professional email address so the interviewer recognizes who you are.
State your interest and summarize your best qualifications
You should describe why you want the position, what your qualifications are, why you are a great fit, and how you would make significant contributions.
The follow-up note is a good opportunity to showcase your personal brand. Attach links to your online portfolio, website, LinkedIn or other professional profiles to highlight your experience, skills, and personality.
Be precise and concise
Limit your note to 2-3 short paragraphs and include specific takeaways from the interview. For example, mention how you could help with a project your interviewer mentioned. Specificity demonstrates that you understand the needs of the position and company based on your conversation.
Send a thank you note to each interviewer
Sending a generic note may hurt your chances of landing the job. You should tailor the note to each person you interviewed with and make them unique.
Forget to proofread
Sending a thank you note via email has many benefits, but it may cause you to send a note in haste and forget to check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Errors in your note may lead the hiring manager to think that you are unprofessional, lazy, or a lousy writer. Make sure that you are proofreading your email and ask someone to take a second look for mistakes you might have missed.
Ask about salary or benefits
You weren’t offered the job yet, so your thank you note is not the time or medium to negotiate your salary or benefits.
Say “thank you” using words, not a plant or a fruit basket. Sending gifts may make the manager feel uncomfortable, make you appear desperate, or seem like bribery.
Send a note via text message
While sending a thank you note via email is encouraged, sending a thank you note via text is too casual and informal. Texting the hiring manager can seriously harm your professional image.
Try using this template from the Job Search Letter Packet to help you get started.
Subject line: Thank you for the interview
Dear Ms. Locke,
Thank you for taking time out of your day to meet with me yesterday regarding the Archivist position within your organization.
I truly enjoyed learning more about the opportunity, as well as the growth and development happening within Chicago’s non-profit sector. As someone who has spent the last four years studying Communication and Media at DePaul University, it was empowering to learn about the role Archivists are playing in these exciting trends. I also appreciated meeting with your assistant, William, as he provided me with great insight into the specific roles within your organization.
Meeting with you reaffirmed my interest in working for the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and I am very thankful to be considered for this opportunity. As was evident in my resume and conveyed during my interview, I have a passion for community development and have developed strong multimedia documentation skills through my coursework. I am confident that I would be able to use these experiences to add value to your organization, especially with regards to the public art project you outlined during our conversation.
It would be a privilege to work with you and your team. Thank you again for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
A little gratitude can go a long way. Writing a prompt, appropriate, and genuine post-interview thank you email can set you apart from other candidates. Have more questions about thank you letters or other aspects of the job search process? Visit the Career Center website or connect with a Peer Career Advisor to help you land the job!