You know that feeling when you absolutely knock a job interview out of the park? That “get into the car and crank the music to 11” kind of feeling? Success on interview day can have you saying “thank you!” to anyone and  everyone within shouting distance; on the flip side, a not-so-stellar interview performance can make you want to hide your head in the sand and go quiet for a while.

However your interview goes – good or bad – a round of thank yous are in order. Regardless of how things may ultimately turn out, people spent valuable time and resources in order to invite you to their office and host your interview, so it’s only right to show them your appreciation. After all, every interview is an opportunity for more than just the role at-hand; lessons can be learned for future interviews and lasting professional connections can be formed.

Here’s how you can master the art of the thank you note for your next job interview:

Why are thank you notes important?

Reputation is everything. Other than just being the right thing to do, sending a thank you to your interviewers can help to ensure they’ll be left with a lasting, positive image of you as a candidate. Even if the role you interviewed in might not be the right fit, a thoughtful note could go a long way towards being considered for another opportunity down the road.

What should you say?

Keep your message simple and to the point. Yet, avoid using a generic template for every situation; personalization and specificity can go a long way towards making a thank you letter feel genuine. A simple way to make your message stand out is to include a particular phrase, interesting question or other memorable takeaway from your interview session.

Also, remember that a professional thank you note is a formal message, so always include titles, such as Mr. or Ms., and end the note appropriately, using “sincerely” or “gratefully.”

When should you send one?

Always send a thank you message – physical or digital – within 24 hours of your interview or meeting. A great trick is to fill out a card or digital message shortly after leaving the office, then mail or email it on the same day.

Who should you send your notes to?

Don’t forget to send appreciation to everyone involved in the interview process! Many times, you’ll be meeting with more than one person on interview; it is important to reach out to each interviewer personally. Pay close attention to details, such as names and titles, when meeting new people, and do your best to save business cards for future reference.

Where should the messages should be sent from?  

It doesn’t matter if the “thank you” comes in a physical letter from your home address, or via an email from your professional email, but what is important is that your message of appreciation is received promptly and is authentic. Take the time to make your message look clean, honest and professional no matter what format you are using. Always double check for grammar and other careless writing mistakes and, when using a physical letter, be sure to write clearly and legibly.

Whether you’re thrilled after an interview or down in the dumps, it’s always necessary to follow up by sending your interviewers a thank you message. You’d be amazed at the impact a simple, “thank you” can have on someone’s day! Do you have any tips for sending a thank you note after an interview? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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