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Sound Writing

Section 11.6 Writing Thank-You Notes

Why a Thank-You Note?

After you’ve sent in your cover letter and resume (and any other application materials required), all that’s left to do is wait to hear from your potential employer. Chances are, if you spent time crafting a strong cover letter and resume, you’ll be approved for an interview! We won’t go into the process of helping you prepare for an interview here (for that, you can make an appointment at CES by visiting the office in Howarth 101, calling 253.879.3161, emailing, or visiting the CES website 1 ).However, there are some things you can do immediately after an interview to increase your likelihood of moving on in the hiring process. One of these things is writing a thank-you note to each of your interviewers thanking them for their time and consideration of your application and reiterating your interest in the position.
This graphic shows a small comic of a letter sticking out of an envelope, with the following text below it: "Dear interviewer, THANK YOU! Best Regards, Your Future Employee."

What to Include.

Your thank-you note should be simple and concise, demonstrate your enthusiasm for the organization, and express your excitement at the potential opportunity of working with them. To this end, a strong thank-you note should include:
  • a statement of appreciation to your interviewers for meeting with you
  • a reference to a specific topic of conversation that arose during the interview
  • an acknowledgment of how the interview improved your understanding of the position/organization
  • a reminder of any specific skills you could contribute to the organization
  • a final thank you to the interviewers for their time and consideration

Timing and Medium.

Hopefully, you will have obtained a business card or email addresses from your interviewer(s) during the interview. If you haven’t, try to find their contact information on the company’s website or directory. Try to get your thank-you note to your interviewers as quickly as possible (within 24 hours) after your interview. This way, they will likely still remember you and you can refresh yourself in their memory by referring back to the interview. Writing a thank-you note shortly after your interview will also allow you to recall specific details about the experience that you wouldn’t be able to remember weeks or even a few days afterwards.
You have a few different formatting options when it comes to writing your thank-you note. You can 1) hand-write it, 2) type it up and print it out, or 3) email it to your interviewers. There are benefits and drawbacks to each format, and you should choose the one that makes the most sense given convenience and the type of company to which you are applying. For instance, handwritten notes are more personalized and can demonstrate your passion for the position. However, for a very time-sensitive situation, an immediate and polite email might be most appropriate (for more on email etiquette, see Section 11.1). For more on the benefits and limitations of each format, see CES’s handy “Professional Emails and Thank-You Notes 2 ” guide on the Job Search Resources page.