With Thanksgiving on the horizon, many of us have begun to reflect on the things that we are thankful for this year, and are planning to share this gratitude with family and friends during the holiday. While this is a common Thanksgiving tradition, expressing your thanks—either through a thank you note or in person—is a practice that shouldn’t be limited to one day a year, but rather be applied to different aspects of your everyday life.
This is something that is especially relevant if you are gearing up for a job search in the new year. Whether you have gone through a first round phone screen, or have made it to the final interview stage, writing a thank you note to the hiring manager is more than a best practice; it’s a move that conveys your respect for your interviewer’s time, demonstrates your interest in the role, and keeps you top of mind during the decision making process.
In fact, your thank you note (or lack thereof) can ultimately mean the difference between you and another candidate. That being said, here are some quick do’s and don’ts to keep in mind the next time you’re thanking an employer:
Do be timely
While we don’t advise that you fire off a generic email from your phone immediately after the interview, you do need to be cognizant of time. Employers are making faster hiring decisions to secure top talent in today’s job market, so taking longer than 24 hours to send a thank you note could mean a missed opportunity.
Don’t be long-winded
A thank you note is not meant to be an essay or a cover letter, so keep it to one or two short paragraphs max. As a guideline, be sure to concisely cover these basic points: your appreciation for the opportunity to interview; your interest in the position and in the organization; and the value you can bring to the role.
Do proofread for grammar/spelling errors
This should go without saying, yet even the most talented candidates make this mistake when corresponding with hiring managers. Since these careless typos can raise some red flags about your attention to detail, make sure you proofread your note before sending it off.
Don’t forget to personalize each email
If you’ve interviewed with multiple parties, send each person a personalized email rather than copying everyone on the same note. Tailoring your message for each individual is a more courteous approach that exhibits a few in-demand personality traits, including strong interpersonal skills and active listening.
Do say more than thank you
These notes give you the opportunity to expand on what you spoke about in the interview and further explore the position, so why not take advantage of that? Despite the name, a thank you note can do more than help you express your gratitude. Take a few sentences to expand on something from the interview to spark further conversation. This can help set you apart from other candidates!
Don’t be too casual
Regardless of how well you and the interviewer got along, remember that you still need to act professionally. You don’t want to raise any questions about your ability to be professional in the workplace, so it’s best to avoid starting your email with “hey” and including any language that is similarly casual.