When you are job hunting, it is very exciting to get to the interview phase of work. It means that you have gone from the large pool of applicants to the hand-chosen few. At this point, your qualifications and personality both go into an employer's final decision to hire you. Whether you think you have the job or not based on that interview, one thing that can sway things in your favor, or put you on the short list the next time they have an opening, is a thank you note. Here are a few tips on what a good thank you note should have:
Handwritten Words, Individual Notes
Nothing gives the personal touch like a handwritten thank you card. If your cursive is hard to understand, take your time and write in block letters. Or, if you have a friend or family member with exquisite handwriting, borrow their skills but be certain to sign it yourself. Pen, ink and time will be noticed, and will set you apart from the emails that others will likely send. Also, if you were interviewed as a panel, take note of everyone's name, and send individual thank-you notes to them all. This allows you to personalize them a bit more. Often, the office manager or secretary will gladly provide you with names and correct spellings if you ask him or her.
Card or Stationery
Though it's a small detail, choose a card or kind of stationery that will say something about yourself or your interests. Avoid plain notebook paper, and choose something formal and simple if you are looking for a serious business job, edgy if you are applying somewhere more hip, or natural if the job is more scientific.
If you discussed anything personal in the interview, make another kind comment about this in the thank you. Something simple, like "thank you for sharing the stories about your beautiful children" or "I was thrilled to meet another person with a love of horses as deep as my own" can go a long way in endearing you to your interviewers. If you didn't have a moment like that, don't force it and don't make it up. Be polite, complimentary and professional.
Offer to Follow Up
Though the thank you note places the ball in their court as far as contact, follow ups beyond this are overreaching. That said, you can offer to answer any additional questions in the thank you note. This should be brief, remember that your interview is over and they don't want you to cram a do-over into a thank-you note. Simply let them know you're looking forward to hearing from them, and that you will be available for follow-up questions.