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The Hill Life

CHS Careerist: Updated Thank You Notes

Hi Belle,

I am in the process of applying for out-of-town jobs and have a few Skype interviews set up. Ordinarily, I would send a paper/snail-mail thank you note (or notes) to my interviewers, but I’m worried that will take too long because it would need to travel across the country. Do you think an email thank you note be okay? That seems informal, but definitely better than nothing.

Thanks! L

Since the start of the blog, I have been an unwavering advocate for paper thank you notes.  However, as hiring moves more into the digital realm, this position is becoming more difficult to maintain.

Paper When Possible.  I still believe that a traditional thank you note goes above and beyond.  It lends a personal touch to a sometimes impersonal process, and a handwritten note should be sent whenever possible.  I recommend elegant, simple stationery (try Crane’s or Etsy) or a simple ‘thank you’ card.

However…If you are unable to follow-up with a thank you card in a timely manner, a well-worded e-mail is also effective.  Thank the interviewer(s) for taking the time, and make it clear that you appreciated having a chance to discuss the position and how your qualifications make you an excellent fit.  Also, remind them of your contact information and tell them that you can make yourself available, should they have further questions.

This e-mail should be sent no more than 24-hours after your interview.  This is not the time to play coy.

The Two-Pronged Approach.  Since you never know how long an employer will take to make a decision, I advocate sending an e-mail within hours of meeting and dropping a card in the mail (or dropping it off) that same day.  This way, your gratitude is expressed in a timely manner, with a personal touch to arrive later.

Don’ts.  Every prospective employer is different, but I don’t know anyone who wants a phone call ‘thank you’.  It feels a little invasive to me, especially since I just talked to you less than a day ago.  E-mail is better.

Also, I’ve never experienced this, but I’ve heard horror stories about text message thank you notes.  While texting maybe de rigueur for younger applicants, most hiring managers are older and disinterested in communicating via text.  I would also advise against Facebook or Twitter thank yous.  (Again, horror stories.)

Thank you notes are important because they close the loop.  Maybe they make a difference, maybe they don’t.  But you want to know that you did everything that you could to get the job when the process is complete.

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