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Sending a Thank You Letter

By Julie Fishman
Quick Tips
  1. Don’t burn bridges – Even if you’re not interested in the job, you should send a thank you letter within 48 hours of the interview because you never know when you’ll meet that person again—someday they may be hiring for a job you do want.
  2. Thank everyone – Not only should you send thank yous to those you interviewed with, but also to any networking contacts who helped you secure the interview and anyone else you met during your visit to the office.
  3. Stand out – Use the thank you letter as an opportunity to reiterate your skills and to show enthusiasm. Don’t be generic; refer to something specific that was discussed in the interview, and let the interviewer know that you’re excited to join the team and that you’d make a great fit for the position.
  4. Last-minute pitch – Mention anything you forgot to tell the employer during the interview. The thank you letter is a great chance for you to include past experiences and achievements that will make you look like an attractive candidate. (Don’t summarize your entire resume, but if there’s anything you didn’t have time to talk about during the interview, include it in the thank you).
  5. Email or Snail Mail – These days it’s best to send those thank you’s over the internet. It will ensure that they get it before making the decision to bring you on or pass you over.

Your application was the appetizer, the interview the main course, and now you’ve hit dessert—the thank you letter. This is your own personalized "cherry on top," so don't let it go to waste. Not only is a note common courtesy, but it's also a final sales pitch for tour candidacy and a chance to make your name stand out from an Olympic-size post-grad applicant pool.

Within 48 hours of the interview, you should send an email thanking everyone who was a part of the interview process for their time and restating your qualifications. If it's one of these places where you are introduced to like 10 people for no other reason other than to confuse you, do yourself a favor and ask for each person's business card so you have their name and contact information. Without sounding like a sycophant, express the idea that after meeting in person you're even more excited for the opportunity. Try to refer to something specific from the interview that made you eager to join the crew. Let them know that you’d be a better fit than Dockers and add real value, giving examples of past experiences that prove your worth. Don't prattle on and on, but do briefly summarize the highlights of your candidacy (one to three short paragraphs is a good rule of thumb).

Forgot to tell them you studied in Sevilla, where you perfected your Spanish? This letter is your opportunity to touch on anything you didn’t get to mention in person or follow up with information the interviewer may have requested. One good question is okay to ask; five unnecessary ones may turn you from prospect to pest. Be sure to keep the personality of the organization and interviewer in mind. If you interviewed with a posse of people or saw several throughout the day, you should send a letter to each of them. Every single letter, whether it be to the CEO or average Joe, should be unique and refer to something specific you talked to that person about. To close the letter, thank them again for their time and consideration. Tell them you hope to hear from them soon. Hit send and let the waiting game begin, knowing full well that you've done your duty.

The jury is still out about whether to send a hand-written note or email. The benefit of email is that it is quick and guaranteed to get their on time. That said, a letter stands out as unique and may sit on the person's desk for a few days as a subconscious reminder of your existence. Our best advice is to default to email, but send a letter if you have incredibely beautiful handwriting.

Then the waiting game begins. Don't call or email until the timeframe you were given for a response has elapsed. At that point, unless you were specifically asked not to follow up, it is appropriate to inquire into the status of your application.

Check out the sample below:

Ms. Andrea Sachs
24 Devil Wears Prada Lane
Hollywood, CA 90210

March 3, 2007

Ms. Miranda Priestly
Executive Editor
Runway Magazine
666 Satan Street
New York, NY 10017

Dear Ms. Priestly,

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me about the assistant bitch position at Runway Magazine. Our conversation augmented my interest in both the job and company. Working with word-class photographers on shoots across the globe would be an amazing experience, even if the models scoff at my lack of make-up and wealth of split ends. I enjoyed meeting Nigel and am excited for the opportunity to join a company where the employees are treated like Egyptian slaves.

Not only would I be a great fit, I think I would add value to the team. In addition to my ability to carry several coffees simultaneously, I will bring the astute writing skills acquired while working for The University of Princess Diaries’ school newspaper. From our conversation, it seemed the job would require someone with exceptional organizational skills. I forgot to mention that during my junior year of college I worked as an office assistant, where I perfected my Blackberry dexterity.

I truly enjoyed speaking with you and appreciate your time and consideration. Feel free to contact me for additional information or to further deride my attire. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best Regards,
Andrea Sachs



Before going to an interview, there are several things that need to be considered. A big part of interview success is being careful not to commit obvious wrongs. Some of the interview mistakes that commonly kill applicants are pretty basic. The biggest one, believe it or not, is being dressed improperly. If you're fidgeting about your hygiene it will look, and potentially smell, bad. Don't bash former employers, don't be arrogant or talk about how wasted you're going to get that night. Be professional, prepared, polite, and if you bring you’re A game, you might never need money from the Unemployment office any time soon.

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