Remember when you were younger and your Mother always reminded you to say thank when someone gave something to you? Even if you did not particularly care for the item, she still made you say thank you as a gesture of respect and appreciation for their thoughtfulness. Well, the same goes for job interviews. Whether you are confident that you were on your “A” game and knocked it out of the park; or you could have done better. Don’t count yourself out of the race yet. There’s still one more round to go…the thank you letter.
Many people think that a killer resume and great cover letter are the most important documents needed for a successful job search. While the resume plays a big role in presenting your work experience in an organized manner, the cover letter rounds out the presentation by directly relating that valuable work experience and education to the position that you are vying for. So, who could totally disagree with the high value placed on these two pieces of communication? Well, while I don’t totally disagree, I invite you to look at yet another important document in the career search process and consider the value it adds. Can you guess what that document is? You guessed it…the cover letter.
Some may say that the cover letter does not matter as much because it plays no role in getting your qualifications in front of the hiring manager. Well, I beg to differ. Although the cover letter comes into play on the back side of the interview, please do not make the mistake of minimizing its value and how it can close the deal for you after your interview.
The three ways which taking the time to write a thank you letter could pay off are: 1) Re-emphasize information discussed during your interview; 2) Reemphasize what makes you the best candidate for the position; and 3) Make you more relatable; and/or 4) Emphasize your continued interest in the position.
• When writing a thank you letter, the two first objectives that you will want to accomplish will be to send the letter no more than twenty-four (24) hours after your interview and to personalize it. If you asked for the interviewer’s business cards or contact information at the end of the interview, you will be able to easily do this by addressing a separate letter to each individual interviewer. Even if your interview was conducted by a panel, you should still write separate letters to each panel member.
• Paragraph one is your opening paragraph of your letter should literally thank the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to interview for the position. When referring to the position that you interviewed for, use the position title that was used in the vacancy announcement. This should be your opening sentence because it will set a tone of gratitude and sincerity for the rest of the letter.
• The goal of the second paragraph is to keep the strongest parts of your interview in the front of the interviewers’ minds. This paragraph should consist of two to three sentences that recall your professional experience that is most-directly related to the attributes that the interviewers are looking for in their next team member.
• The third paragraph is not required, but encouraged if you have something to add at this point. In it, address a unique characteristic about yourself that positively separates you from the other candidates who are being considered for the position. It is even better, if during the interview, you and one or more of the interviewers learned that you both enjoy the same hobby or activity. For example, I used my blog as my unique characteristic. One of the IT Directors was on the interview panel, so when I shared with them that I studied WordPress independently to start my blog, I immediately caught his interest. This helped me because they needed someone who was not afraid to learn how to use new technologically since they were in the process of migrating to a new Human Resources Information System (HRIS). If it won’t make you letter too long, you might even want to slip in another bit of important information about your qualifications that you did not get to share, or forgot to share, during your interview.
• The fourth and final paragraph is your closing paragraph. Here is where you want to re-emphasize your interest in the position. You don’t want to leave the interviewers wondering if you still want the job. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you still want to be their candidate of choice. Close out by telling them that you look forward to hearing from them very soon.
As a bonus, below, I am sharing with you a thank you letter that I wrote after an interview. It follows my recommended letter format and I have even marked the paragraphs for you. This is a letter that you can copy and paste it, then tweak it to fit your needs and use it repeatedly with minimal revision. Leave a comment to let me know what you think about it. Here’s to your successful career search!
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
August 25, 2017
Dear Mr. Smith, Director of Information Technology Services
Company Mailing Address
City, State and Zip Code
RE: Thank You from Cynthia B. Okonkwo
Dear Mr. Smith,
Paragraph I: Thank you for being a member of the interview panel for your organization’s (Use the Company’s Name) Human Resources Manager position. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you, Ms. Davis, and Mr. Arnold on yesterday to discuss my continued interest in this exciting opportunity.
Paragraph II: The position offers the right mix of familiarity and challenge for me. As I hope you can tell, Human Resources is more than just a profession for me. It is my way of giving back and if given the opportunity, I will use my extensive HR Generalist experience, communications, and interpersonal skills to enhance your organization’s Human Resources function.
Paragraph III: My interest in technology and as well as my desire to help others motivated me to develop my own HR blog, http://nnamtique.com. So I am excited about the prospect of being involved in your pending HRIS migration to PeopleSoft.
Paragraph IV: I am respectfully requesting your continued consideration for advancement to the next step in the selection process. I sincerely hope to get to work with you in the very near future. Thank you once again.
Cynthia B. Okonkwo
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