Career Corner: Sending a thank you letter

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Have you ever been thanked for doing something? By human nature, we enjoy the feeling we get when someone appreciates or acknowledges our time and effort.

Now imagine that you just left an interview and are trying to make a strong impression on an employer who has to decide if you are the right fit is for his or her company. Sending a thank you letter can help close the deal on a good job interview and help set you apart from other applicants.

A thank you letter helps you convey your interest in and enthusiasm for the company and the position for which you were interviewed. Try to be specific about why you are interested and how you are a good fit for the team.

You can start the letter by saying the following:

“Hello Mr. Smith, I appreciate the time you took to interview me this afternoon to discuss the insurance broker position at California Investments, Inc., with me. After meeting with you and observing the company’s operations, I am further convinced that my background and skills coincide well with your needs. I really appreciate that you took so much time to acquaint me with the company. It is no wonder that California Investments retains its employees for so long. I feel I could learn a great deal from you and would certainly enjoy working with you.”

You can then address any issues or questions that came up during the interview that you feel you did not fully answer. This letter is your last chance to make a positive impression on the employer, so if you fumbled a question during the interview then this could be your opportunity to explain yourself. Just remember to be specific as you will likely be one of many interviewees; you need to set yourself apart from the other candidates so they will remember you.

In your letter, highlight a key point from your interview that you believe the interviewer will remember, and, therefore, remember you. Additionally, if you meet with more than one person, consider sending them all thank you letters, each one a bit different; you may not know exactly who in the group will be making the decisions.

Getting a business card from each interviewer will help you with names and titles when you write your thank you letters. Remember that a hand-written letter can be more effective than sending an email as it shows that you went the extra mile.

If the company communicated its specific needs, issues or challenges, use your thank you letter to demonstrate how you can meet those needs.

To best understand the employer’s needs, it’s vital to ask questions during the interview. For example, if you were to ask “What goals have you set for this position within the first 90 days?” The employer may disclose a major project or certain tasks that he hopes this position will help accomplish. You will then be able to provide a sentence maybe two in which you can articulate specifically how you can contribute to reaching such goals.
Asking questions during the interview could give you the upper hand in providing a more detailed thank you letter. Similarly, if the company communicated its ideal qualifications for a candidate, use your thank you letter to outline how you meet or exceed those qualifications.

Overall, an effective thank you letter will help showcase your interest in an opportunity and highlight specifics discussed during the interview while providing details on the value you can bring to an organization.

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