Personal Finance

Boost your chances of getting hired with one simple thing

Key Points
  • Just a quarter of entry-level job applicants typically sent a thank-you note after completing a job interview in 2017.
  • Follow up your interview and put some polish on your status as a candidate with a great thank-you note. 
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Given what your mother always told you to do, you’d be surprised how few people do the one simple thing that can help push you closer to getting hired.

That’s right. It’s the thank-you note.

Just a quarter of entry-level job applicants typically sent a thank-you note after completing a job interview in 2017, according to iCIMS’ Class of 2018 Jobs Outlook report. iCIMS is a global talent acquisition software company.

It might seem as dated as flip phones but sending a thank-you letter is critical, said Vicki Salemi, a career expert at in New York.

“There is no reason in this day and age why you’re not sending a thank-you note,” Salemi says. Do it immediately when you get home or within 24 hours.

Here's how to write the perfect post-interview email
Here's how to write the perfect post-interview email

It’s a big part of the interview process.

“The hiring manager expects one, and it’s peculiar if you don’t send it,” Salemi said. Just imagine the hiring manager has interviews with three other candidates. They all send thank-you notes, and you don’t.

Will you lose the job because of it? “It’s one of those nice touches that you absolutely should do,” Salemi says.

Entry-level applicants sometimes write too casually. Salemi said she’s seen follow-up emails written as if the job applicant was text messaging a friend.

One applicant emailed, "Tks 4 yr time," Salemi said.

Make sure your letter hits the right notes with these tips.

Don’t forget to spell check

“It’s almost better not to send a thank-you than one that’s filled with errors,” Salemi said.

Use the spell check to make sure your note is perfect. Edit carefully to make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors

“Hiring managers share these with other hiring managers,” Salemi said. “It’s always a shame when candidates take the initiative and then send a letter with mistakes.”

Create a thank-you template

Save yourself time and worry after the interview by having your thank-you notes mostly written. “Make it part of your protocol,” Salemi said. “There are tons of online resources to turn to for examples and language to use.”

Each note will have some boilerplate phrases ─ “I think my skill set lends itself well” … “Thank you for taking the time to discuss the role of assistant sales manager with me” ─ to save some time.

Turn to your interview notes for any information or references to make them more personal.

Send notes to everyone

Acknowledge everyone who spent time with you at the interview in a separate email. It doesn’t have to be long, but each note should include a piece of personal, relevant information.

“State something you enjoyed about meeting that particular person,” Salemi says. “You could wish them a great vacation if they mentioned an upcoming trip.” Thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.

Don’t forget about snail mail

If you really want to make a great impression, Salemi recommends sending duplicate thank-yous by snail mail as well as email.

Remember the candidates you’re competing against. “Snail mail takes more time to get there,” Salemi says. “It’s rare for jobseekers to send them, and it sits on their desk and reminds them of you.”

Write a few sentences

“A one-line message looks too generic,” Salemi says. “Include their name, and show some enthusiasm for the position.”

You don’t have to write “Dear Name of Interviewer,” but write out the name followed by a comma. Then, make sure you write in complete sentences with all words spelled out.

‘Yours truly’

Definitely end your note with a formal sign-off ─ “Not ‘cheers,’ “ Salemi said, another miscue she’s seen from early-career jobseekers. If you never use these in correspondence, best wishes or best regards may feel artificial, but it will make you appear professional to the hiring manager.

“The tone of the email should be a little more formal,” Salemi said. “I’ve never seen anyone not get a job for being dressed too formally or being too formal in their follow-up emails.”

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