September 30, 2008

6 Tips for Letter-Perfect Thank You Letters

When I first posted about how to write a killer resume, I wasn’t intending to do a writing workshop for the job searcher.  But three weeks later, that’s how it has turned out. First, there was how to write a resume, then cover letter writing, and now this week, I’m putting the spotlight on the final piece of writing you really want to master if you’re going to ace your job search: writing interview thank you letters.

Job searching etiquette dictates that one to three days after a job interview, you send a thank you note to your prospective employer.  Now, judging by how few thank you letters I have received for the wedding gifts I’ve given over the last five years (or worse, the anemic and all too generic "Thank you for the gift. Love, us."), I’m going to venture that thank you letter writing in general is a lost art form.  Imagine, then, what a big impact you can make on a future employer by sending a well-written thank you letter for your job interview.

If you tend to get thank you letter writer’s block, here are six tips to help you get over the hump and pen a knock-out thank you letter:

1. Be as specific as possible. Just like I can’t stand those overly generic wedding thank you notes, a future employer will be equally unimpressed with an impersonal interview thank you letter. Reiterate (succinctly) why you are interested in working for their company and why you think you would make a good addition to their team.

2. Be enthusiastic. Convey your interest in and enthusiasm for the company and the position for which you interviewed. Try to be specific about why you are interested and how you are a good fit for the team.
3. Address outstanding issues. Do you feel like you may have fumbled one of the questions in your interview? Use your letter as an opportunity to clear up any outstanding/unexplained issues.

4. Make it perfect. Proofread your letter, and then ask a friend to do it, too.  Prove how great your attention-to-detail is by sending a thank you letter that is typo-free.

5. Email it. Times have changed and it is now perfectly acceptable to email your thank you letter. Don’t waste the stamp or the time by sending your letter via postal service.

6. Keep it short.  Your letter should follow the basic three paragraph rule, and cover one-half to two-thirds of a page. Your future employer will more than likely just skim your letter, so keep your sentences pithy with action verbs.

What are your best interview letter writing tips?  Please share in our comments section.

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