My mother sent thank-you notes for just about every encounter. She keeps little note cards at her desk to fire off short but thoughtful expressions of gratitude for dinner invites; holiday cards; subjects who’ve allowed her to interview them (she’s an author); and occasions most of us would consider too small to commemorate in writing.
The little note cards, however short, get a serious response. Most recipients are impressed that someone took the time to put pen to paper. They fondly remember the effort and will generally be more receptive to her the next time she calls or e-mails.
Should you follow mom’s advice on the job search? Yes, said Lindsey Olsen, a partner and recruiter with Paradigm Staffing. Olsen prefers the hand-written note, which is more personal and recommends it even if you’ve already sent a thank you by e-mail.
But the thank-you note following a job interview is much more than a chance to express your appreciation for the interview; it’s a chance to continue the conversation, finish your thoughts and leave one last impression. From Olsen’s “From the Recruiter’s Desk” blog:
Aside from common courtesy, think of the thank-you note as a way to reiterate how your qualifications will contribute to the company’s success and confirm your interest. Have you ever walked out of the interview and wished you had brought up a specific point or emphasized more strongly a particular experience? A thank-you note is a chance to do that.
It is also your opportunity to show your genuine interest. A well-written and personalized thank-you note lets the company know you are a serious candidate and someone who excited about the opportunity. An interviewer should never have a doubt about your interest level in the position.
In the past, I’ve used thank-you notes to follow up on the topics we discussed in the interview. I usually walk away from an interview with a better understanding of what the company does and what I could bring to the table. Given a few hours to contemplate the ideas swirling in my head, I can usually articulate it well in one last communique to the interviewer.
For Olsen’s rules on how, when and where to send thank-you notes as well as who should receive one, read her blog The Power of a Thank You Note.
For more on Job Search Correspondence and Etiquette: