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Thank-You Letters — Another Chance to Impress

CATEGORY: Employment Tips
POSTED: March 19, 2013 at 8:12 am

More than a simple courtesy, a well written and strong thank-you letter can help a candidate rise above the competition and land the all-important next round interview. It is a must-have item that demands space on every job seeker’s tool belt. If you are a candidate who has a winning resume and an effective cover letter, while also acing interviews, you’re ahead of the game. However, if you’re not earning the second-round interviews you deserve, then you should ask yourself if it is because your thank-you letter is missing the oomph it needs.

Why to Send a Thank-You Letter

Kelly Services, the $5 billion per year worldwide provider of temporary employment services, advises its candidates to send a thank-you letter “…as soon as possible after a job interview” and explains that “this shows your professionalism and that you are keen to get the job. You will also stand out and be remembered above other candidates.”

Some experts, like those at Yale Law School, have recently said that thank-you letters are not needed in every situation. These experts are in the minority. Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles recommends that students write thank-you letters after “…all interviews whether they are a first, second, third, or fourth interview.” The University of Pennsylvania tells its undergraduates to send a follow-up letter “…after every interview (whether for an actual position or for information only)…”

For job hunters who aren’t certain how to write a powerful thank-you letter and make the most of the opportunity, utilizing a professional, certified resume writer, like those who work for, may be a sensible solution.

Ivy League-Quality Thank-You Letter

Princeton University’s Career Services office offers its Ivy League students five rules to keep in mind when it comes to thank-you letters:

1. Whatever the format, keep it professional.

2. Send a thank-you letter as soon as possible.

3. Help the person recall you and the conversation.

4. Reaffirm your interest in the position.

5. Take care of business. “Express your willingness to provide additional information if necessary…”

See Princeton’s advice and a sample thank-you letter on their website:

Thank-You Letters for Career Fairs

An often overlooked way to utilize the thank-you letter format is as a follow-up to job fairs. The experts at the Career Center at University of California Santa Cruz offer a sample letter. Very few prospective candidates follow up in this manner after job fairs, and this is a great way to impress and set yourself apart.

Hiring Managers Thoughts When You Don’t Send a Thank-You Letter

Not sending a thank-you letter “might make the difference between a rejection letter or a job offer,” Southwestern Law School tells their grads. “Employers have come to expect thank-you letters, and the absence of one may make a negative impression. A thank-you letter can help demonstrate that you are enthusiastic about the position, that you have ’follow-through‘ and complete tasks, and that you treat others well and would treat the firm’s clients appropriately.”

Emailing Thank-You Letters

Many candidates wonder if it is appropriate to send a thank-you letter by email. Berkley Law School tells students that “…the consensus is that email is now the appropriate format in which to thank an employer for an interview opportunity.” However, they caution to “…be extra careful with email; your message is still a business communication, which means it should be appropriately formal (including appropriate salutation and closing) and error-free.”

A Final Tip

A 2005 survey called “How to Get in the Front Door” revealed that, “Nearly 15%of hiring managers say they would not hire someone who failed to send a thank-you letter after the interview.”

One way to make certain you get the letter done is to write a rough draft before the interview. This will help you get an email out to the hiring manager and other interviewers more quickly and with much less anxiety.

Shawn P.

Shawn is an expert resume writer with over 20 years of experience in professional recruitment, staffing, marketing, advertising and communications. He authors dozens of executive level resumes each year.

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