It's Business -- Write an Attention Grabbing After-Interview Thank You Letter
Letter Writing Made Easy!: Featuring Sample Letters for Hundreds of Common Occasions, New Revised...
You may not think a thank you letter is necessary. Why risk losing a job opportunity? It’s one short piece of paper that indicates to an employer you are 1) Interested in the job, 2) Professional, 3) Considerate, 4) Know how to follow through with communication, and 5) Understand how to compose and write a business letter.
Choosing the Right Paper
I prefer writing business thank you notes on 8 1/2” x 11” white letter paper. If you prefer a different color paper other than white, an ivory or light gray letter paper will also work well. Don’t forget to purchase matching envelopes. You may be tempted to grab a card with the imprinted words “Thank You” with a graphic. Those are fine for letting someone know you appreciate a gift, but not for leaving a final great impression with a prospective employer.
It is not necessary to hire a printer to create personalized letterhead paper. (Letterhead usually includes your name, address, phone number, and sometimes email address at the top of the page.) In today’s world of computers, it is easy to create your own letterhead. I prefer centering my name and address and phone number/email at the top of the page. Keep the computer font simple, no scrolls or funky lettering. Also use black ink on a laser printer if possible. Laser printing is a bit crisper than ink jet printing, plus the ink won’t bleed if it becomes wet. If color is a must for you, you may want to consider a dark business-like blue or gray color. Make sure the font is bold, and usually a person’s name is a bit larger than the address and other contact information.
Follow a traditional letter format. Drop down a few spaces beneath the letterhead name and address and type the date (spacing depends upon the overall length of the letter). About six spaces beneath the date, enter the name and address of the person you are contacting. It’s always great to try and collect a business card from each person you interview with at the company. That way you have the correct spelling of their name and their title. Unless you personally know the person you interviewed with, begin the salutation with “Dear Mr. LastName” or “Dear Dr. LastName”. If in doubt regarding a woman’s marital status, stick with the safe “Dear Ms. LastName”. After the salutation, leave a blank line then begin the body of your letter. Leave a blank line between paragraphs and after the last paragraph. Type “Sincerely,” or “Best regards,” and then drop down four spaces to type your name. Always personally sign the letter with either a blue or black pen. If you need a visual of letter formatting, you can use a search engine such as Google to search: business letter format.
What Do I Say?
It is important to write different thank you notes to each person in the company you interviewed with. You never know when people will meet and perhaps compare the information they have regarding your interview and any correspondence. A one-page thank you note can contain just a few short paragraphs. For instance, paragraph one can simply thank the person for their time to see you. The next paragraph can bring in something that was discussed during the interview. This can be anything from mentioning certain software that you know is important to the job and that you are proficient in using, that you enjoy travel and look forward to representing the company (if it is pertinent to the job), perhaps you and the interviewer shared a common interest or went to the same school, mention that you enjoyed meeting the people you spoke with and know that your qualifications and interests are a match for the company. Try to bring in a personal experience from the interview so that the letter doesn’t appear generic. A wrap-up paragraph can reinforce your interest in the job and that you look forward to hearing back from them. Keep the letter simple yet sincere.
Folding the Letter
A traditional business letter is folded into thirds. Fold the sheet of paper a third up from the bottom of the letter. Then fold the top of the letter over the already folded portion. If you have a business card, it is optional to include one. I let the letter speak for itself and do not include a business card. The letterhead contains your contact information anyway.
Try to use an envelope that matches the letterhead paper. Office supply stores sell matching paper and envelopes. My printer has the capability of printing addresses on envelopes, and I like the way a printed envelope appears. If you don’t have a printer that has this capability, then neatly hand write your return address in the upper left corner of the envelope and the recipient’s address toward the center of the envelope with a black ballpoint pen (you don’t want the ink to smear). Use a regular postage stamp. It doesn’t set a good impression if you use the postage meter from your old job … it might make the potential new boss wonder how free you are with office equipment and supplies – even if your old boss gave you permission to use that equipment. Simply lick and seal the envelope, then mail it.
A thank you note is a powerful tool that can convey a lot of information about the type of person you are in just a few short lines.
Copyright 2011 Dawn L. Stewart
Joined:May 31, 2002
Dawn Lesley Stewart is the author of "Mist-Seer" and "Harriet's Horrible Hair Day". She is an avid writer, and enjoys sharing her experiences with others.
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