Monday, October 6, 2008

Set Yourself Apart with a Job Interview Thank You Letter

Article Title: Set Yourself Apart with a Job Interview Thank You Letter
Author Byline: Mary White, M.A., SPHR
Author Website:

The best way to distinguish yourself from other job applicants is to follow up your interview with a job interview thank you letter. Employers typically interview a large number of people who have similar qualifications for each open position. After several days of asking people the same questions over and over, interviewers often have a definite case of information overload.

Even though their heads might be spinning after talking to several people about the same job, they still have to face the tough task of deciding which candidate will receive a job offer. It’s pretty easy for most interviews to decide who isn’t qualified for the job. The difficulty comes in when trying to wade through the applications of people who are qualified.

At the conclusion of a long round of interviews, employers usually have two stacks of applications. One of the stacks is full of people they are not interested in for the position. The other stack is full of people who they are interested in considering for the job. Assuming that your application is in the second stack, sending a job interview thank you letter might be just the extra boost that moves you to the top of the callback pile.

Interviewers want to select someone who has the necessary skills, and who really wants the job. If you have the necessary skills and handled the interview well, your application probably made it to the right stack. However, there probably isn’t anything tangible in your application paperwork that lets the employer know how much you really want the job.

Sending a job interview thank you letter is a great way of letting the employer know that you are genuinely interested in the job. Taking the time to sending a job interview thank you letter demonstrates initiative, ambition, and commitment. These are all characteristics that employers desire.

Keep in mind that employers also like to hire people who have effective communication skills. Make sure that the job interview thank you letter you send is well written and attractive in appearance. Proofread your work carefully and have someone else check it for errors too.

You can send a typed job interview thank you or a handwritten one. The best choice depends on many factors about you and about the particular job. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

There is a lot to be said for handwritten thank you letters in this age of electronic communication. When an employer receives a handwritten job interview thank you letter, he or she knows that the applicant took the time to write a personalized letter just to them. There is just something special about a handwritten thank you note that people tend to really appreciate.

However, if you have illegible penmanship sending a handwritten job interview thank you letter is not a good choice for you. If you have a severe case of procrastination when it comes to writing thank you letters, you are better of using an electronic version that you can just print and send right away. If your job interview thank you letter gets there too late, the job will probably have already been offered to someone else.

Electronic thank you letters are favored by many applicants because it is easy to update them. You can write your electronic letter once, have it carefully proofed, and use it forever just by making a few minor adjustments each time you print it. You don’t have to worry about a laser printed letter being illegible, assuming you have ink in your printer and use an appropriate font.

However, electronic letters often come across looking and sounding like form letters. Even though most people do not bother to send job interview thank you letters, it is important that the interviewer who receives your letter feels as if it was written just for them.

With a little thought and planning, you can easily create a job interview thank you letter that will help set you apart from the competition. A side effect of interviewing people with similar backgrounds for the same job is that the candidates who have the basic qualifications become hard for the interviewer to distinguish from each other once the interview is over.

The fact that you take the time to send a job interview thank you letter might be just the thing that makes the interviewer pick up the phone and offer the job to you.

About the Author
Mary G. White, M.A., SPHR is the Training Coordinator for for Mobile Technical Institute & MTI Business Solutions, where she specializes in human resources, management, and marketing training. She teaches open enrollment classes for MTI, provides on-site corporate training, and frequently speaks at conferences and association meetings. MTI also provides a variety of consulting services, including IT Training, certification testing, HR consulting, custom database development and website solutions. For career and business development tips, see MTI's blogs, Daily Career Connection and Daily Biz Solutions.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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