People actually do not get hired because they failed to send a thank you note.
Arrested Development knew the secret to success: leave a note. Whether letting your roommate know that you finished the last of the milk or sending a thank you note after an interview, it’s always a good idea to leave a note. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with candidates for job interviews or young people for an informational interview and after our chat, did not receive a thank you note. Some may think this is an outdated custom, but let me assure you, it is not. People actually do not get hired because they failed to send a thank you note. So don’t do that, do this:
Send a Thank You Note In a Timely Manner
Don’t wait a week to send a note. If you’re sending an email, send it by the close of business or the following day. If you’re mailing a letter, drop it in the mail immediately, since it will probably take a day or two to arrive. The point is, don’t hold out too long–this isn’t about playing hard to get, it’s about making sure you don’t go sans thank-you note long enough for your interviewer to formulate any negative opinions about you.
Make Sure It’s Error-Free
There’s nothing like shooting yourself in the foot just as you’re trying to leave a final, lasting impression. Triple-check for typos and make sure everything from the interviewer’s name to the company is spelled correctly. Keep it short and sweet to help curb the risk for major errors.
Make It Personal
It’s okay to have some stock lines that you use for each thank you note, but make sure there are also some personal touches in there. Mention something you spoke about in the meeting or reiterate your interest in the position and why you’re an excellent candidate. The stock, copy-and-paste thank you note will not only do nothing to help you stand out, but will also open you up to the dreaded possibility of sending a note with the wrong company name and/or information on it.
When In Doubt, Send a Note
Erring on the side of sending a thank you note will pretty much never steer you wrong. I once received a handwritten thank you card from a cousin two days after having her over for dinner… completely unnecessary, but so nice! If you’re not sure if that meeting was just a friendly chat or an actual interview, send a note anyway. If you had a quick meeting with a low-level employee at a prospective company before meeting with a senior executive for your job interview, don’t forget to thank the little guy. If you were set up for an informal informational chat with a friend of a friend, be sure to thank her for her time. Get the gist?
Thank you notes make people feel good; they show people that you respect and appreciate their time. So naturally, failing to send one implies that you don’t value the connection. Also, if you don’t, J. Walter Weatherman will surely haunt your job hunt… and nobody wants that.