You’ve been told time and again to write a thank you note after each interview. So you slog through it with your stock thank you, swapping out names and dates, each time thinking “This is just a formality – it doesn’t actually have an impact.”…
Sound familiar? Being in the staffing industry can sometimes feel as if you’re actually in the thank you note industry. Any one of us can tell you that a well-written, thoughtful and earnest thank you note not only makes an impact but could actually mean the difference between getting that offer and coming in a close second. We’ve seen it time and again. We’ve also seen great candidates routinely struggle with writing thank you notes. Our belief, and something we’ve built our reputation on, is that the personal touch, the old fashioned manner of going the extra mile still makes a difference (and in fact could make all the difference) in today’s world.
So what can you do to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward? Here are 5 common pitfalls we see in thank you notes, and how to avoid them.
- Getting way too casual, way too fast
You don’t have to be overly formal, but no one wants to feel like they’re receiving a text message instead of a thank you note.
Tip: Address the thank you as “Dear Mr. /Ms. _______, or even Dear (first name) in some instances. And I don’t care how much your enjoyed the interview, refrain from exclamation points, nicknames or references to their children and/or pets. Make sure to write an individualized thank you note to EACH person you meet with. A potential co-worker who feels snubbed is not likely to recommend you for a role.
- Toe the line: don’t grovel and don’t boast
You don’t have to say thank you 34 times. On the other hand, don’t spend the entire note telling them how great you are. Toe the line!
- The Goldilocks Method – Not too wordy, not too brief, but just right
We would suggest you order your thank you notes in 3 brief paragraphs. Paragraph one thanks the interviewer for taking the time out to meet with you. Paragraph 2 reaffirms your interest in the position and highlights something you spoke about. Paragraph 3 gives you a chance to briefly tell them why your previous experience has prepared you adequately for the role and what you can bring to the table….and then you close out by saying thank you one more time.
- Misspelling/Errors – Just….don’t.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go over your note with a fine-tooth comb. There is nothing worse than receiving a thank you note with your name misspelled or the company’s name misspelled. Be thorough and triple-check everything.
Tip: It’s often very helpful to have someone else proofread your thank you note before you send it to a potential employer. We here at Taylor Hodson, Inc. proofread all of our candidate’s thank you notes before giving them the green light to send and have found that it makes an absolutely measureable difference. *WARNING: DO NOT rely on Spell-Check!
- Relax and write an original thank you note!
You don’t want to go passing around generic thank you notes. They should be genuine, not stock. You should mean what you write and it shouldn’t come across as canned or fake.
Thank you notes can be fun and don’t have to be a stressful thing. You’re not writing a thesis, you just want to follow-up, say thank you, reaffirm your interest in the position, remind them of why you’re a good fit and do so in a professional manner.
Ever make a huge mistake and not realize until you’ve already hit “send”? We would love to hear your stories of success and failure in the hiring process!