Thank You Notes = Ace in Hand

by Julie Watson, Head Editor, INALJ Pennsylvania

Think thank you notes are just for your grandmother?
Think again. According to a 2011 CareerBuilder survey, 22 % of hiring managers say that thank you notes matter. Why do they matter? Neglecting to thank your interviewers shows a lack of follow-through and sends the message that you don’t really want the job.

Not sure who to thank?
People like to be appreciated, so don’t be shy. You’ll meet lots of people on interview day. If you a conversation with someone, you should thank him. Often the hiring decision is influenced by many people and you want to make an impression on everyone.

Not sure where to begin?
In general, your letter should include the following elements:

  1. Greeting – Show that you understand the culture of the organization by addressing the person appropriately. Was the Library Director introduced to you as Dr. Babcock? Then address her that way in your greeting. If it was a casual place where everyone was on a first-name basis, you should feel comfortable address the reference librarian by his first name. You want to show that you’ll fit in, but use your best judgment. If you’re not sure, err on the side of formality.
  2. Express your gratitude – People took time out of their busy schedules to meet with you, and you should thank them for that. Did certain people do extras for you like pick you up from the airport or give you directions to the library? Thank them for that as well.
  3. Express your continued interest in position – You showed your interest in the job when you applied and interviewed, but are you still interested? They may not have gotten a clear sense during the interview, so make sure they know. Tell them which of their projects you are excited about and how you can be asset to them.
  4. Address your weaknesses – Correct any mistakes you made during the interview. Did you leave something out? Now’s your chance to mention it. Inevitably you will think of a better way you could have answered a question or remember something you left out. Briefly try to clarify.
  5. Ask for the job! – Well maybe not flat out, but consider concluding by telling the person why you’d really like to work with her and for the organization.
  6. Be graceful – Thank the person again at the end of the note.
  7. Regards – Stick with tradition and use Regards, Sincerely, Yours Truly, All the Best, etc.
  8. Signature – Let the formality or casualness of you sign-off match the greeting.

Wondering if email is appropriate?
Well…that depends. Time is of the essence. By now you should have an idea of their timeline. (If they don’t tell you their timeline by the end of interview, ask before you leave). If you need to get your thanks expressed ASAP, email is the way to go. Send each person an individual email and vary what you say — they might compare!

If you have a little time, send your note through the postal mail. Act fast though and get it out within 24 hours of your interview. You can handwrite it on good quality cardstock or type a professional business letter. Personally, I think a handwritten note adds a personal touch, but you may prefer to be more businesslike and type a letter.

Also consider the nature of job you interviewed for, if it involves a lot of technology skills, email may be the best way to go. No matter what method you choose, proofread, and proofread again!

More Than One-in-Five Hiring Managers Say… – 2011 Career Builder Survey
Nothing says “Hire Mire” like “Thank You” – Infographic from CareerBuilder.com
Your Last Impression: Saying Thank You after Your Interview – by Larissa Gordon via LIScareer
Listen: In Wired World, Handwritten ‘Thank You’ Still Tops – from NPR’s All Things Considered
Five Helpful Thank-You Note Samples (and Reminders) for Job-Seekers – by Kelly Blazek on MentorPatch
Sample Thank You Letter – University of Pennsylvania Career Services
Sample Thank You Letter – Monster.com

Julie is also leading a discussion on this topic at my LinkedIn page

Originally published on 1/17/12

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook, Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. In just over a year and a half she’s had over 5 Million page hits and helped over 1,500 librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 400,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 & 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro. She presents whenever she can, most recently as breakout talk presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa and as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting, at the National Press Club, McGill University, the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has relocated to New Orleans, LA. She runs her husband’s moving labor website, KhanMoving.com, fixes and sells old houses and assists her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food as well. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 

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