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What is a thank you/follow up Letter?

Thank you letters are written expressions of your appreciation for the time, information and/or recommendations given to you in a formal or informal interview, during a particularly helpful phone call, or even through a great e-mail message.


Who to send thank you letters to?

Thank you letters are appropriate to send to employers, potential employers, contacts, professors, and anyone who has helped you with job leads, recommendations or suggestions for your job search.  If you interviewed with several people, sending a thank you letter to each one is the best approach.  You can make it essentially the same letter, but vary at least a sentence or two to individualize the letters in case the recipients compare notes.


When to send thank you letters?

A thank you letter should be sent in a timely manner.  Sending out a letter within 24-48 hours is best, but not later than a week after the interview.


Why write a thank you letter?

  • Helps build a relationship with the interviewer
  • Helps to project a positive image of yourself
  • Keeps your name in front of the interviewer
  • Demonstrates you are truly interested in the job
  • Shows that you are a follow-through type person
  • Allows you to reinforce your key strengths
  • Provides a second chance for you to mention important points you might have forgotten to mention during the interview
  • It is wise to consider every tool that will give you an advantage in this tight job market.
  • A survey found that nearly 15% of managers would reject a job candidate who neglected to send a thank you letter after the interview and 32% said they would still consider the candidate, but that their opinion of him/her would diminish


How to send a thank you letter?

Thank you letters can be typed, handwritten or e-mailed.  Hard copies are most formal and are appropriate after an interview.  Handwritten is more personal and can be appropriate for brief notes to a variety of individuals you may have met during on-site interviews.  E-mail is appropriate when that has been your means of contact with the person you want to thank, if your contact has expressed a preference for e-mail, or if you are in a hurry.


Tips for Writing Thank You letters

  • Keep your letter short and simple – two paragraphs is enough.
  • Make it customized.
  • Help the person remember you by referring to specific points discussed.  It shows that you were listening and will refresh their memory.
  • Be sure your letter is professional, for example: typed, no grammar or spelling errors, etc.
  • Remember, very few people bother to send thank you letters – this can be your edge!
  • Do not send the thank you note written via your phone.
  • Make sure several people proofread the note before sending it.
  • For a thank you after an interview:
    • Emphasize your qualifications, especially those that are most relevant to the position.
    • Provide any information that was overlooked during the interview or that which was specifically requested by the interviewer.
    • Express your continued interest and your enthusiasm for the position


Format of Thank You letter

First Paragraph:

  • Thank the person for taking the time to meet with you (mention the date of the meeting). 
  • For an job/internship interview: Remind the interviewer of the position for which you interviewed.

Second paragraph:

  • Mention something you have learned from the meeting or comment on something of importance that you discussed. 
  • For interviews: Restate your interest in the position and the company/school/organization and emphasize your strengths, experiences, skills, accomplishments and slant them towards the points that the interviewer considered the most important for the position.

Third paragraph:

  • Once again, thank them for their time and can reference you look forward to hearing from them (for interviews) or keeping in touch (for non interviews).  

Where to get more help?