Particularly when the job interview goes well, some job seekers consider the letter unnecessary. However, this could be a mistake; here’s why.
It’s an all too common scenario. The interview couldn’t have gone better, the employer expressed a high degree of interest in the candidate, and everyone was smiling. Confident in a forthcoming job offer, the candidate decides against going through the effort of writing an letter. After several days without word from the employer, an email finally arrives in the candidate’s inbox informing the candidate that the job went to someone else. What happened?
The reasons why an employer may select one candidate over another vary. It could be mistakes made during the interview, a change in the job description, or perhaps the company decided to eliminate the position altogether to save money. However, a well-written and executed thank-you letter could help tip the scales in favor of the candidate if the employer is undecided.
What is an Thank You Letter?
Many job seekers believe letters simply tell the employer “thank you” for the interview and that’s all. On the contrary, the interview thank you note is actually a final, last-minute effort to convince the candidate is the best fit for the job. The candidate should write for the employer within 24 hours for every single job interview, no matter how successful the interview may have been.
Why the Note is Important
Though many job seekers tend to want to avoid the effort expended in writing the employer a job interview thank you, doing so is very important because it
- shows the employer that you are still very interested in and enthusiastic about the position
- shows confidence and proactivity on the part of the candidate – two traits highly sought by employers
- reminds the employer of the candidate’s core skills related to the position
- helps to convince the employer that you are the best fit for the position based on applicable skills, work history, and personality
- shows the candidate is polite and courteous
How to Write an Effective Thank You Letter
Writing an effective one is not difficult once one learns the structure of the note. The key areas of focus are the initial thank you sentence, the skills summary recap emphasizing a strong fit, the request to be considered, and the salutation. The letter should be no longer than four or five sentences, and sent as an email. For example:
Hi (hiring manager’s first name),
Thank you for meeting with me yesterday to discuss your Technical Writer job opening. To summarize our conversation, my strong background in technical writing combined with my knowledge of the telecommunications industry are a perfect fit for the job opening. I am excited about the prospect of bringing my skills and expertise to your company, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Bottom line, it is much more than just a quick “thanks for the interview.” Moreover, the note is a last-ditch effort to prove that the candidate’s core skills are a perfect match for the position while at the same time serving to convince the company that the candidate is the best person for the job.
The letter should never be dismissed as unnecessary or superfluous. On the contrary, writing an effective note can tip the scales in the candidate’s favor, thus increasing the chances for receiving that coveted job offer.