Job interview thank-you notes

Jun 14th, 2009 | By | Category: Job Interview


Since my ?rst year recruiting, I have written thank-you notes to almost everyone I have interviewed at a convention, job fair or college campus. I began with typed letters that were all basically the same. I soon switched to handwritten cards. I have sent thousands.

My handwriting is not that clear, even on a good day, and when I have to sit down and write 25 at a crack, it is even worse. But I was not trying to win a prize for penmanship. I was trying to make an impression. I knew that few other recruiters would make the time to personally thank people for interviewing. The note made my company stand out, it recognized that everyone’s time is valuable, it reinforced a point from our interview, it kept the door open and it sent a message. The message is: Follow-up notes are effective. Try them.

Very few interviews lead to internships. More often, during a long day of interviewing candidates, I eliminated many more candidates than I advanced. But good follow-up can lead to something down the road. One reason I wrote follow-up notes and tried to be sensitive with rejection letters is that I knew I am communicating with hundreds of people who, while they might not be chosen for the internship of the moment, were people I wanted to encourage in their careers.

Take the long view.

Make your thank-you notes:

  • Short: just a few sentences
  • Prompt: Keeping them short will make them manageable and quick

  • Specific: Cite a message or point from the interview

This is adapted from “Breaking In: The guide to Newspaper Internships.” Think of it as a free sample. It is available in the JobsPage bookstore.

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