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Your New Years’ Resolution: Write Thank You Notes

December 31, 2013 received a lot of questions about interviewing in 2013. Specifically, applicants wanted to know what they could do to stand out in an interview. Though our hiring experts have given a range of responses on the subject over the course of the year, one consistent piece of advice was to follow up after an interview with a well-crafted, punctual thank you note.

Why send one?

Recruiters all agreed that thank you notes are noticed and appreciated by hiring officials. As one wrote, "As a recruiter it still surprises me how many people do not send a thank you note after an interview," adding that thank you notes are, "viewed as a true indication of your interest level." Another suggested that thank you notes, "show good character," while a third said that they offer, "one more chance for you to ‘sell’ yourself and express your interest in the position."

Email vs. Handwritten’s experts differed on whether the thank you should be by email or hand-written, and several suggested doing both. A recruiter from a pharmaceutical company said that, "today, a 'thank you' sent via email or Linkedin inMail is actually preferable and more environmentally conscience." However, another recruiter from a large multi-national company advised, "I am a strong believer in a hand-written thank you note for several reasons. One reason is it isn't commonly done anymore and it will make you stand out! Taking the time to write a professional, well-written note goes a long way."

Proofread Your Work!!

All seemed to agree that some kind of note is a good idea, and to be sure that the note (whether by email or hand) is punctuated correctly, has proper spelling and is grammatically correct. "The last thing you want to do is give a recruiter a reason to doubt your ability to be successful within their organization. Always be mindful of your written communication," said a recruiter from a popular private food company.

How long?

Thank you notes don’t need to be too cumbersome or detailed, said a recruiter from telecommunications company, "you can do this in so many ways, e-mail, snail mail, in person- - just make sure you do it. You want the memory of your conversation to stay top of their mind to remind them of something specific you talked about and it does not have to be job specific." Another recruiter said that a thank you can simply be a brief email to an interviewer of thanks, "for their time and reiterate your skills and interest in the position."

How soon?

A cautionary piece of advice about emailing a thank you, from a large financial services company recruiter: avoid sending an email within minutes of leaving the interview, as it can show that you seem too "hurried and merely checking the box."

So there you have it, straight from recruiters at the some of the largest employers in the United States. If you’re looking for an easy way to make a lasting impression after an interview in 2014, make sending thank you notes your new year’s resolution.

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