As I was finishing up an Interview Coaching session with an over 50 client she asked, “What should I do about a thank you note? Are they still a thing? How do I mail one or do I need to use email? “ I was empathic that you must send a thank-you email right after the session ended.
Before COVID, I would have insisted you mail a handwritten card but since many people continue to work remotely, email is often the only option.
There have been so many decision-makers who said a thank you note had influenced them on who to hire, particularly if there were two very comparable candidates and only one took the extra step to say, “thank you.”
A simple, vague email will not persuade anyone. A well-written email just might. What you say is key. You want to use the thank you message to reaffirm that the employer is making the right choice if he or she hires you. Since the note can tip the hand in your favor if the choice is between you and someone else, carefully craft it. Demonstrate you really want this job. The employer believes a person who strongly wants the position is more likely to perform better on the job.
Career Builder reported that 57% of job candidates never write a thank you note and yet decision-makers still expect them. Do not lose out on the job because you failed to do this key follow-up step. You want to standout.
Here is the best formula to create a persuasive email note.
Step 1– Personalize it
In today’s online interview world, step one is to be sure you get the email(s) for the actual person or persons you interviewed with. Ideally, you do not want to have to send your email through the recruiter and hope he or she sends it on. Instead, when the recruiter sets up the meeting ask for the person’s name, email, and contact info in case the ZOOM or online session doesn’t start or has a technology glitch.
Make the email seem truly personal. Start with this subject line: Thank You “person’s first name”. When you customize the email to me, I’m more than likely to open it as it’s unlikely I’ll recognize your email address.
Next, begin the email using the person’s first name. Try this: It was great to talk with you about the job today Scott, thank you for meeting with me. OR say: Mary, I appreciated your time and all you told me about the job today, thank you.
Are you ready for your next interview?
Step 2 – Reiterate Your Strengths
After the opening, where you thank the employer for the opportunity, reiterate two or three strengths you would bring as a “valuable contributor to their team.” Think about what the employer seemed most interested in about your background.
Maybe they asked numerous questions on managing others. That is a tip-off that you should address your ability to coach a team into a highly productive business unit. You want to stress one or two of your top-selling points on why they should hire you. For example, you might write something like, “my extensive experience using the PeopleSoft database would allow me to quickly start contributing to your role.”
Did the hiring manager seem to have any doubts because you lacked a skill or specific experience? Maybe you forgot to mention something relevant. If so, add it to your email. Keep the message brief but make the point clear saying, I did want you to know that at X company, I took on the responsibility of managing the budget for two years.
If it is something you do lack, stress what you do bring to the job and then mention how you have learned other processes and systems very quickly in former roles. The key is to reassure the decision-maker you will come up to speed quickly.
Step 3 – Conclude
In ending the email, be sure to say something like this: “Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions or want to arrange another interview. My contact info is EMAIL and PHONE.
Make sure the email is personalized, restates a couple of key points about what you bring to the job, and lists your contact info.
PROOF carefully and then hit “send.”
Notes must be emailed within twenty-four hours, preferably the same day as the interview if possible.
An earlier version of this article was originally published by Robin Ryan in Forbes.com