There seems to be a lost art regarding post-interview thank-you notes. It appears that way based on the frequency in which I remind our job candidates to send them promptly after their job interview. I thought it’s about time to blog about how to write a thank you note that gets you the job.

Doesn’t anyone take the time to send a card anymore?

I’m guessing that if I bought every job candidate a little box of thank-you cards and requested they use them only for prospective employers they’ve interviewed with, they would never run out. Somewhere along the way, e-mail has virtually eliminated the use of handwritten cards to express “Thanks for taking the time to interview me.” I might be old-fashioned, but I think that there are two things that carry weight when expressing gratitude: speed and thoughtfulness.

First, you want to make sure to send a thank-you note as quickly as possible following your interview. Speed indicates interest. Lack of speed usually indicates lack of interest. It is typically most effective to express thanks as well as your feelings about the position while still fresh in your mind. This makes it easier for you to pinpoint specific remarks you discussed. Since snail mail is slower to reach the interviewer, I suggest sending an e-mail the same day of your interview (and make sure you can spell-check it). This will ensure the interviewer can factor in your favorable thank-you message when providing feedback to the appropriate person. I also suggest sending a handwritten note as well because it requires more energy, making it inherently much more thoughtful.

Regarding the content of your thank you, make sure to begin with words of thanks followed by a brief recap of a few of the most critical points. You do not and should not relive the entire interview in written form. The main points for your recap should focus on your match for the job. This will also make visible for the interviewer your match (remember reassurance). Complete the note with remarks confirming your interest in the position. If you intend to also send a handwritten note (which I strongly recommend), you might want to mention in the e-mail that you have also sent something in the mail but wanted to send a short e-mail for expediency’s sake. Lastly, I would recommend that the length of the e-mail (or handwritten note) be short enough so they will read it but long enough to include relevant substance that will keep you fresh in their mind. Below is a sample to help illustrate the point:

Thank You Note: Hi John, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I appreciated the chance to learn more about you and the company.

Based on the key points we discussed today, I feel I would be a fantastic match for the job because

[insert details here, but be sure this requires no more than two or three lines.]

Lastly, I want to reconfirm my interest in the position. After speaking with you, I was more excited about the opportunity because you verified the company supports my interests related to [insert specifics here].