How to Write a Great Thank You Note

“Sorry seems to be the hardest word,” according to Elton John – but “thank you” probably runs a close second. Here are some tips for writing a thank-you note that will help your cause.

So, apart from the anxiety you had to endure while on the hotseat, you’ve emerged from your job interview relatively unscathed. You have now entered the agonizing realm that is waiting to hear back. Perhaps you nailed it. Or perhaps the interview was an out-of-body experience that wiped you of all memory.

Either way, as brutal as it not knowing whether you nabbed the job or were kicked to the curb, the post-interview period shouldn’t render you entirely powerless. Take a break from your ruminating and channel your energy into crafting a killer thank-you e-mail.

Be prompt
A thank-you note should be sent to a prospective employer within 24 hours of your interview. This way, the interviewer still has a fresh impression of you in his or her mind, and is less likely to confuse you with the handful of other candidates he/she interviewed that week. Further, your hunger for the job, which you’ll be conveying in said note, will be far less convincing if you tarry.

The nice thing about a thank-you note is you get the chance to reiterate the skills and qualifications that you feel make you a strong candidate for the job – but this time in the comfort of your sweatpants.

Be specific
First things first: you’re here to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you, so lead with that. But simply conveying your appreciation, without going into details, makes for a highly unmemorable note.  Choose several noteworthy tidbits you gleaned from the interview, or specific elements you enjoyed learning about, and mention that these were positives for you.

For example, you might open with: “I really enjoyed getting to learn a bit about your company’s software tools.” Or, alternatively: “hearing about your company’s values was extremely interesting; it gave me a clearer sense of what the position entails.” Detail, precision and thoughtful wording should set you apart from other candidates.

Restate your strengths
The nice thing about a thank-you note is you get the chance to reiterate the skills and qualifications that you feel make you a strong candidate for the job – but this time in the comfort of your sweatpants. Depending on what skills the employer seemed to be looking for in the interview, choose one or two fundamental strengths and clearly (yet concisely) explain how you acquired or manifested them in your last job, as well as why these are applicable to the position in question.

For instance, you might write something along the lines of the following: “You mentioned that the ideal candidate should have strong organizational skills. In my previous position at ____, I demonstrated this by single-handedly reorganizing the client database for greater efficiency.” The point is to leave a lasting positive impression of yourself, and remind the employer why you, and you alone, are right for the position.

Leftovers and last chance
This is also your last shot to address any logistics or loose ends that you felt didn’t receive proper closure during the interview. Think of it as a continuation of the process – a way for you to address any issues or concerns which might have materialized in the course of the interview, but which you may not have had a chance to properly deal with. For example, if it was mentioned that the desired candidate should have a car and you admitted to not having one, mention in your note that you would be fully committed to purchasing one should you be hired. Similarly, this applies to any computer program you haven’t used or academic certification you’ve yet to attain.

Convey that you’re willing to put in the maximum effort to being a great match for the job. But avoid being too over-the-top or flowery in your wording; as with dating, people can smell neediness and desperation from a mile away.

Thank your interviewers again for their consideration of you for the position, and express your excitement about the possibility of joining their team. Tell them to feel free to contact you should they have any more questions for you, or require additional information. Politely sign off – and commence the praying.

I’m always reminding candidates to send thank-you notes after they’ve gone in for an interview. Everyone here at Clarity Recruitment has at least one story about how a smartly or creatively worded note of appreciation helped to tip the scale in a candidate’s favour. Put some thought and consideration into writing yours, and you may find yourself needing to send another one shortly – along with a signed contract.

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!