With the digital age now in its second generation, thank-you notes sent by email have become widely acceptable. And whether by email or snail mail, “a thank-you letter is so important because it's your chance to really set yourself apart from the pack," says Dayna Mathews, a career coach based in Phoenix, Arizona. It's also your chance to solidify the positive impressions the interviewer has of you before they make their final hiring decision.
A good rule is to send your thank you email within 24 hours after finishing your interview, says Mark Slack, a career adviser and hiring manager at Resume Genius. "You won't get docked points for sending one too quickly, and you may forget if you wait over a day," he says. According to the job-matching service TheLadders, more than 75 percent of businesses say receiving a thank-you letter impacts their decision-making process -- so don't delay. Aim to keep your note under 200 words. Your ability to remain succinct while still getting your point across provides a way to further impress the interviewer.
Include Important Details
You don't want a thank-you email to wind up in a spam box or get accidentally deleted. In the subject line, include the name of the position you interviewed for as well as the date and time of your interview. This prevents your interviewer from overlooking your note and presents important information right away. In the body of your email, "include your first and last name, your contact information, and the position you’ve applied for," advises Sam A. Mannino, director of Career Services at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. Do everything you can to identify yourself.
Reiterate Your Assets and Clean Up Messy Spots
In one or two sentences, reiterate why you are interested in the job and what makes you the best candidate, Mannino suggests. This is your time to restate your enthusiasm, your qualities, and recap why you would add value to the company. Also take time to clarify unanswered questions and address concerns your interviewer may have expressed. Very few interviews go 100 percent smoothly, but this thank-you email is your opportunity to clean up any weak spots. "If you sensed you answered a question weakly during the interview, clearly and concisely address that point," Slack adds.
Thank the Interviewer Sincerely
As you craft your thank-you email, keep in mind that your interviewer took time out of his schedule to meet with you -- and that he chose to meet with you, and perhaps not many of the other applicants who applied for the same position. Your sincerity and awareness can make all the difference in how your email is received.
Re-read your thank-you email several times before you send it to ensure it reads well and is free of errors. Everything you've written should be accurate and spelled correctly. For example, make sure the position, the business and the interviewer's name are spelled correctly. If possible, ask a friend to read through your email, as well. A fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes that you may have missed.