How to Write a Thank You Letter after a Job Interview?

You just came out of a fantastic job interview.  You are very interested in the job, the company, and you really liked all the people that you met with during the interview.  So what do you do next?  You should always write a thank you letter as soon as possible after completing an interview.  So how do you write a thank you letter after a job interview?

Why Send a Thank You Letter?

Did you know that more than half of candidates do not send thank you letters following an interview?  By sending a thank you letter, you set yourself apart from other potential candidates that the hiring manager is interviewing for the same job you are interviewing for.  A thank you letter also brings you and your interview back to the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind, which is important if you were one of the first interviews out of many.  It is also just a polite and respectful thing to do.  Always send a thank you letter within 24 hours after completing a job interview.  You should also send a thank you letter if you are not interested in the job, letting them know that you are respectfully withdrawing your application.  You never want to burn a bridge with a company or hiring manager.  The sooner you can send the thank you letter, the better.  So how do you write a dynamic thank you letter after a job interview?

Before You Start Creating the Thank You Letter

Before you ever start creating your thank you letter, there are some things you should do to prepare.

  • Decide What Type of Thank You Letter to Send: Should you send a handwritten Thank You Letter, a typed Thank You Letter, or an emailed Thank You Letter?  You should consider the organization and the rapport you felt with the people you met with during the job interview to decide which type of Thank You letter to send.  Some hiring managers prefer handwritten thank you letters and some might prefer typed.  You just need to make a personal judgment as to what you think that hiring manager would prefer.  I would suggest sending a thank you letter via email first immediately following the interview and then mailing a handwritten thank you letter to follow up.  If you prefer to type your thank you letter, that is fine too.  Just do what you feel comfortable with.
  • Names: Make sure that you have the names of the hiring manager and all the people you met with during your interview.  Make sure you have the correct spelling of all the people you plan on sending thank you letters to.  If you are working with someone in Human Resources, don’t forget to send them a thank you letter as well.  If possible, try to get business cards from everyone you met with to clarify the spelling of their names, email addresses, physical company addresses, etc.

Thank You Letter Format for Jobs You Would Like To Pursue

Always use the Standard Letter Format to write your thank you letter.

  • Addressing the Recipient: Make sure you spell the name of recipient correctly.  Review the business card of the person to clarify the spelling (if you were able to receive a business card from that person).
  • First Paragraph: The first paragraph should be used to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.  You should talk about your interest in the position and show enthusiasm.  If this was a lunch or dinner interview, you should also thank them for the meal.
  • Second and Third Paragraphs: The second and third paragraphs should reemphasize your qualifications in detail by relating them to the job you interviewed for.  You can also bring up anything that you think is pertinent to the job that you didn’t bring up in the interview.
  • Final Paragraph: The final paragraph should tell the interviewer that you appreciate being considered for the job and that you hope to hear from them soon.
  • Closing: You should end with “Sincerely”, sign your name, and then type or print your name underneath your signature.
  • Email: If you send a thank you letter via email, you should blind copy yourself when you send it.  You should also make sure that your email address itself is professional. partylikearockstar@hotmail for example is not a professional sounding email address.

Thank You Letter Format for Jobs You Would Like To Withdraw Your Application From

Always use the Standard Letter Format to write your thank you letter.

  • Addressing the Recipient: Make sure you spell the name of recipient correctly.  Review the business card of the person to clarify the spelling (if you were able to receive a business card from that person).
  • First Paragraph: The first paragraph should be used to thank the interviewer for taking time to meet with you.  If this was a lunch or dinner interview, you should also thank them for the meal.
  • Second Paragraph: You should then respectfully decline the position.  You should wish them well and tell them that you enjoyed meeting with them.
  • Closing: You should end with “Sincerely”, sign your name, and then type or print your name underneath your signature.
  • Email: If you send a thank you letter via email, you should blind copy yourself when you send it.  Also, you should make sure that your email address itself is professional.

Correct Thank You Letters

  • Proofread: You should always proofread your thank you letter.  Check for spelling and grammatical errors.  I would recommend having someone else proofread your thank you letter after you have proofread it before you send it.
  • Length: Thank You letters should never be more than one page.  You should make every word in your thank you letter count.
  • Job Interest: You should always reiterate your interest in the job and show enthusiasm.
  • Paper: If you are submitting a thank you letter non-electronically, then you should make sure you use good quality paper that matches your envelope.
  • Ink: If you decide to handwrite your thank you letter, always use blue ink.  If you use black ink, it might look like a copy instead of an original.

Incorrect Thank You Letters

  • Contractions: Do not use contractions.  Write out the word ‘do not’ instead of using the word ‘don’t’, etc.
  • Fonts: Don’t use decorative fonts, flashy colored paper, or unusual formats.  Your thank you letter should be professional and will look that way if you use the Standard Letter Format.  I suggest using Arial 10 as a font if you decide to print your thank you letter rather than handwrite it.  Make sure your entire thank you letter is in the same font type if you decide to type it and is in the same ink if you decide to handwrite it.
  • Wording: Don’t overuse adjectives in your thank you letter and do not use the word “very”.  Don’t start too many sentences with the word “I”.Limit the use of writing in the passive voice.  Avoid using clichés and meaningless or wordy expressions.  Do not use exclamation points in your thank you letter.
  • Recycled: Never use the same thank you letter addressed to different people, especially if they are working for the same company.  You should always take the time to tailor your thank you letter to each individual you met with.
  • Personal Information: Do not include personal information or interests in your thank you letter besides your name, address, and contact information.
  • Dishonesty: Never exaggerate or be dishonest about your qualifications, education, etc.