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What to Include in a Thank-You or Follow-Up Letter

After you've presented your job qualifications in an interview, remember to promptly send a thank-you or follow-up letter to the interviewer. Thank-you and follow-up letters are typically sent by postal mail or e-mail.

In your resume and during your interview, you sell yourself on being a great fit for the job — superb qualifications, competencies, skills, experience, and interest — all punctuated with true and lively tales of accomplishments. Don’t stop the winning streak that got you this far. Instead, use what happened during the interview to build on it!

One typical way to begin a follow-up letter is by expressing appreciation for the interviewer’s time and for giving you an update on the job position. Other ideas include the following:

  • Think outside of yourself: Remind the interviewer of what you specifically can do for a company, not what a company can do for you. Draw verbal links between a company’s immediate needs and your qualifications — You want A, I offer A; you want B, I offer B.

  • Elaborate on your experience in handling concerns that were discussed during the interview. Write brief paragraphs about how you solved problems of interest to the company.

  • After researching an issue that the company is wrestling with, include a brief but pertinent statement of your findings, perhaps even enclosing a relevant news clip about the matter.

  • Add information to a question you didn’t fully answer during the interview.

  • Overcome objections the interviewer expressed about offering you the job.

  • Reaffirm your interest in the position and respect for the company. Add a couple of statements about your zest for the company and for the position (but don't overdo it).

In this digital age, most people send e-mail thank-you letters. Doing so is usually fine for garden-variety jobs, especially when the hiring decision is going to be made within a few days or so. But for an important job, a typed letter is more impressive and memorable. Send it by postal mail, or if time is short, via an overnight delivery service. The letter can run two, even three pages, if it is flush with white space and easy to read.

Some people swear by handwritten notes, but even when the penmanship is good, a note doesn’t readily lend itself to a sales tool when you’re going for the win.

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