Thank you letters are probably even more rare than cover letters these days, but they shouldn't be. With recruiters and hiring managers often interviewing several people before making decisions, a compelling thank you letter sent shortly after the interview can make all the difference.
There are three reasons you should write a thank you letter:
1. Remind them that you exist
Recruiters and decision-makers often interview a lot of people for each position. If that's the case, it can be difficult to remember the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, even with good notes. They all start to blend together once you've seen so many faces. Therefore, one purpose of a thank you letter is to remind them that you exist.
2. Reiterate your interest in the job
Employers want to hire people who want to work for them. Typically a lot of information is exchanged in an interview - both ways. The interviewer gets a sense of whether they're interested in you, and you get information to help you decide whether you want the job or not. If you do, it can be beneficial to confirm for them that you are in fact interested, even if you said so at the end of the interview.
3. Highlight your strengths
When an interviewer asks "Why should we hire you?" it's your chance to toot your own horn. That shouldn't be a question you want to avoid - you should welcome it because it allows you to make your case. Same thing with a thank you letter. Now that you know a bit more about the job, the company, and their expectations, the thank you letter gives you a chance to reiterate why you're the best choice.
Make sense? Let's put it all together then. Here's an example of a thank you letter:
Thanks very much for meeting with me yesterday regarding the district manager position. I appreciated you taking the time to discuss your company's strategic direction and plans for growth along the west coast, and I'm very excited about the possibility of joining your team.
After learning more about your needs, I am now fully convinced that I would be the perfect candidate for this opportunity. Here's why:
I have attached my resume to this email for your convenience, and I have also included the contact information for 5 professional references who would be happy to discuss my experience with you. I also invite you to view my LinkedIn profile where you will find more than 10 recommendations from past supervisors and peers.
If there's anything else you need, please don't hesitate to ask. Thank you again for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
555.555.5555 | firstname.lastname@example.org
As you can see, Jennifer has used this thank you letter as an opportunity to remind Geoff about their meeting, reiterate her interest in the position, and highlight her strengths. Rather than simply hoping she stood out among the dozen or so candidates who may have interviewed for the job, she is taking every opportunity she can to make it so.
I hope this gives you something to think about, and I wish you all the best in your job search!