Race to the Top: No Thank You Letter – No Job

By: Lilyanne McClean

Q: I just finished a series of interviews and I really want the job. What is the best thing to put in my thank you letter?

A: In corporate America, your interview begins with the very first interaction with someone at the organization and it ends with the thank-you letter. I know lots of hiring managers that will NOT make an offer until he or she receives a thank you. In some ways, completing the process with a thank you note signals that you respect each part of the interview and that you really want the job.

A good thank you letter must: arrive quickly after the interview, explicitly say “thank-you, and it references something about the interview. Most important, your thank you letter, note or email MUST be error free. Tough love: a typo can cost you a job and the logic is simple: every worker is at his or her best during the interviewing process and if you can’t get these important things right when you are trying to get the job – you won’t get it right once you have it. A thank you letter with typos signals that once this person is on your team, someone else will always have to review his or her work – and that disrupts a lot.

Here are a few tips: if you can, get someone else (who will do a good job) to read your thank you note or email and don’t get upset if there are mistakes – better now than after it’s sent. If you are by yourself try this: write the thank you and do something else for 30 minutes. Then, change the font style and size – I typically switch to times new roman and make it 12 pts. This sets off a change in the brain and you will catch stuff you would have missed before.

A GREAT thank you letter also does something else: it makes reference to something to that was discussed during the interview. For example, “Dear Mr. Brown, Thank you again for taking the time to meet with me on Thursday. I am excited at the prospect of joining the organization and believe my skills and experience will help advance your plans for the new product roll-out.” I usually take a few notes after I interview for a job, in part, because I know it helps when it’s time to put together a great thank you note.

What’s the best way to send a thank you? I personally recommend a handwritten note, which also must be error free. No one sends them anymore and you can stand out. Today, email is also widely accepted. Again, keep it short, although you obviously have some more room on email. And be sure to send a thank you to everyone you meet with. Under no circumstance do you send a text – period.

Lilyanne has worked in corporate America for 25 years and has supported eight CEOs. She wants to answer your career questions – so you can get ahead at work. Email your questions to Lilyanne@racetothetopcareers.com, rttcareers@gmail.com or through your favorite connection to the Houston Forward Times.