The art of the thank you note

So you’ve prepped for your interview, scoured Glassdoor for tips, put on your best suit and nailed the interview day. Now what? Interviews are a nerve-wracking experience and often we are so wrapped up in getting ready for it and making sure the actual day goes well, that we forget the steps that happen after the interview. The thank you note is a great way to follow up, reiterate your interest, and show that you go going above and beyond. Employers keep track of thank you notes, and a good one can go a long way.  Just like how a first impression really matters, the thank you note is an easy way to leave a great last impression. Here are some quick tips on how to write the best follow up thank you note.

1. Get contact information

Of course, you won’t be able to write a good note if you don’t know who to send it to. If you’re lucky, you will get your interviewers contact information beforehand. Most of the time, you don’t know who it’s going to be and it feels awkward to ask. One smooth way to get their contact information is to ask at the end of the interview, “Thanks for answering all my questions today – I don’t think I have any more right now, but could I contact you if I do?” This is a line that works well for many situations – interviews, career fairs, networking receptions. This can also signify that you are done asking questions, so you don’t feel the awkward need to keep asking for the sake of asking. If you forget to ask for contact information during your interview day, reach out to the recruiter afterwards and see if they can either send you the emails of the interviewers, or forward your thank you note to them.

2. What to write

Keep it short and simple – but tailored. Thank them for their time, reiterate your interest in the role, and point to something specific about the conversation that especially resonated with you. If you do have additional questions, you can ask them here. If you had multiple interviewers, try to personalize it as much as you can to the topics you covered. Here is a great article with 3 samples that cover varying degrees of personalization. Not every thank you note can be super tailored, and that’s okay! Sending a more general one is better than none.

3. When to send it

Try to send any follow up communication a day or two after the event – this goes for an interview, career fair, information session, workshop etc. You want to send it when the interaction is still fresh in their mind, and it shows that you are on top of things. If the company is interviewing multiple candidates, you also want to be part of the group that does follow up quickly.

4. How to send it

Email is usually fine, and the added benefit of this is that the interviewer can respond especially if you do have follow up questions. If you really want to go above and beyond, the handwritten note is another option. To do this, you will want to make sure you have the correct address of the company. If you are traveling to your interview site, bring some blank thank you notes with you and fill it out after the interview is over. Then you can drop it in the mail in that city to ensure that it gets to the company in a timely manner. This is also a great option for things like medical school interviews where you might be meeting lots of people – much easier to send one note to the admissions department.

Remember, the most important part of the thank you note is to send it! Even if it’s a few days too late, or you feel like it’s not personalized enough, it’s still better to send one than not. Career Services can help review your thank you notes to make sure you feel confident before sending. Feel free to stop by walk in hours with an advisor or Peer Career Advisor or make an appointment via Handshake.

By Jingy Yen
Jingy Yen Associate Director, Wharton Undergrad Jingy Yen