Thank You Letters: How To Set Yourself Apart From Other Candidates
When looking for a job, there are small gestures that go a long way in setting yourself apart from other applicants.
The often-overlooked thank you letter ranks high among these.
Only a few years ago, it was standard practice to send a thank you letter to a prospective employer. But that has dramatically changed since the advent of email.
But not sending a note is a mistake that can cost you a job. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t help you in your job search.
The thank you letter often serves to remind an employer about you and your skills, notably in today’s job market when it’s commonplace for dozens of people to apply for a single job.
“The key issue is that you do something. The format is not important,” says Peter Vogt, president of Career Planning Resources. “There are employers who prefer a handwritten note and some who prefer a typed letter. Some prefer email and, if you feel like time is an issue, then that is probably a good way to go.”
Once you decide to write a thank you note, the question becomes: What do I write?
There are three points you want to make in a thank you note, say experts.
The first is to simply thank the person who interviewed you for their time. The third, or last point, is to make yourself available to answer additional questions.
The second point is the section that leads jobseekers to freeze up.
A thank you letter is an opportunity to say something you didn’t say during the interview or to restate something you want to clarify, according to Vogt.
It’s helpful to use the body of the letter to reiterate why you are qualified for the job.
Recounting points the employer made about the company can prove your interest in the position. And mentioning issues facing the department – and how you would go about addressing these issues – will provide insight into how you tackle problems.
So, who gets a thank you letter?
The short answer is everyone who interviews you, except for people you meet only in passing.
“My rule of thumb is that it can’t hurt to send a note to everyone you can,” says Vogt.