Don't Forget to Say "Thank You"

by Robin Galante

Thank You

You did it – you had the interview. It went pretty well, you were prepared and got along nicely with the interviewer. But wait – you’re not done! There’s still one very important step you need to take, a step that can seal the deal: The Thank You Note.

Thank you notes are old-fashioned. Maybe you’re like me and your parents made you write one for every family member who gave you a birthday present. And, like me, you often feel guilty for not sending them now. But in this age of 2-minute emails and 1-second texts, this quaint gesture is surprisingly powerful.

What a Thank You Note Says About You

When you take the time to write a thoughtful note to the interviewer and all other potential coworkers you meet during an interview, it gives them insight into who you are. It also tells them:

  • You care. You aren’t just running out and grabbing a beer after the interview – you’re still thinking about it and it means something to you.
  • You are a good communicator.
  • You’re detail-oriented. If you word it right (see below), you can show them that you remember everything about the interview.
  • You’ll be pleasant to work with. A thank-you letter is not just advantageous; it’s thoughtful and kind. It lets them know you are grateful for their time and effort. In short, you’re a nice person.

How to Write a Good Thank You Note

So now you’re ready to write your note – but where do you start? Take out your notes from the interview. If you don’t have any, take out a piece of paper and write down everything you remember, from beginning to end. Once you have all your information, you can start writing. Here is an outline to get you started:

  • Start by saying thank-you. Duh, right? But you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this. Thank them for taking the time to talk with you.
  • Tell them how you think it went. For instance, now that you’ve met everyone, you are convinced you’re the perfect fit.
  • Answer their questions one more time. Address each question you can remember and answer it again. Talk about your skills and abilities and how they line up (perfectly) with their needs.
  • Talk about why you like them. What impressed you most about the company? Tell them what you love about the atmosphere, the systems that seemed to be in place, and of course, the job.
  • Close with a promise. Tell them what you will do for them, how you will help their company succeed.

Consider a Hand-Written Note

So it’s been 10 years since you’ve handwritten anything? Dust off your favorite pen, buy some nice, simple stationery, and write it down. I guarantee, it’ll probably be the only hand-written note they receive. It’s personal, it’s unusual, and it’s thoughtful.

Tip: Type it out first, do a spell check, and copy it down – it has to be legible and neat.

If your handwriting is, frankly, terrible, there are other ways to make your note stand out.

Special Delivery

Should you email it, or send it by snail mail? If it’s a young, exciting start-up environment, email can work fine. Snail-mail takes too long: you need them to see it within 24 hours of your interview – and Fed-Exing it might look a little too eager/stalker-ish.

The best option? Bring it to them in person if at all possible. Why? Because they get to see your beautiful face one more time; it shows you really want the job; you are willing to go the extra mile (literally) for them.

If you had an okay interview, a good follow-up can give you a real chance of getting the job. It’s a small token of gratitude that goes a long, long way.


Robin Galante is a freelance writer based in San Francisco, CA. She writes original, custom-tailored resumes and cover letters (no templates!) for clients all over the country. As a writer, she also specializes in web content, marketing copy, proofreading and editing. At night, she puts down her computer and picks up her guitar; in addition to being a freelance writer, she is a singer-songwriter and performs in venues all over the Bay Area. You can learn more about her resume services at Robin2theRescue, or email her at robin2therescue@yahoo.com.

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