A follow-up or thank-you letter is an essential piece of the interview process. In some cases, it may even make or break your chances of getting the job—if there is an equally-qualified candidate competing for the same position, employers will often choose the person who expresses the most interest in the job.
Not only does that mean asking for the job during the interview (subtly, of course!) but also sending a professional follow-up letter. A follow-up letter shows that time was spent crafting the perfect message, and a genuine statement of gratitude for the interviewers’ time doesn’t hurt, either.
The most important element of writing a thank-you note is to send it as soon as possible. A brief, well-crafted email works just fine! Here are the must-follow steps to crafting the perfect follow-up letter.
STEP 1: TELL THE EMPLOYER WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM
First, remind the employer of the benefits you could bring to the company if you were hired. Focus on positive parts of the interview, like points of agreement where the interviewer seemed affirmative about your responses.
Other tips include:
- Mention actionable, short- term projects and activities where you can hit the ground running, not possibilities in the distant future.
- Or, identify 2-3 skills you know your potential employer agrees you could provide as a valuable asset to the company.
STEP 2: EXPLAIN WHY YOU WANT THE JOB
Hiring can be a stressful and expensive venture for an employer. The hiring manager experiences internal pressure to hire the right candidate—one who can mesh with the current staff, represent the company well, and perform the demands of the job.
For this reason, you should carefully choose your words when you explain why you want the available position.
Don’t say something like, “I would love a job that’s closer to home.” It won’t convince the employer that you’re interested in the position because you see a future for yourself at the company. Instead, reasons related to advancing company initiatives or your interest in the position’s challenges.
STEP 3: ASK ABOUT THE NEXT STEP
The final step in your follow-up letter is to inquire about the hiring company’s next steps. In fact, you should “ask” for the job early and often, throughout the entire interview process.
Asking for the job can be as simple as, “I’m really excited about this opportunity. I hope to hear from you soon.” Another option is, “It’s been a long time since I felt this comfortable about an opportunity. I am looking forward to entertaining an offer and would like to begin discussing preliminary details as soon as possible.”
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