Thank You Letter

Why Send a Thank You Letter?

A thank you letter is an essential component of the interview process, whether for the job search, graduate school, or for an informational interview.  This simple gesture can speak volumes about your interest and appreciation for the opportunity to interview, and although nearly all job seekers acknowledge the value of sending a personalized thank you note, the majority of people never send one.  As a job candidate, you should view the thank you letter as yet another opportunity to show an interviewer what a great fit you would be with their organization or program. Some companies have specifically stated that they hired the candidate because they sent a Thank You letter.

General Tips

  • Keep it simple and to the point.
  • Ask for your interviewers' business cards, or write down the interviewers' titles and the proper spelling of their names before leaving the interview site.
  • Be sure to write and send the Thank You letter within 24 hours after the interview.  
  • Remember to be genuine when writing a thank you note.
  • If multiple people interviewed you, send a thank you letter to each and personalize each one by talking about something specific you discussed with them.  Be sure to mention some key points that you think the employer should remember about you.
  • Carefully proofread each letter, and have one other person to review it.
  • Remember to keep your thank you letter to ONE page.
  • Mention something you learned from your interview (if applicable)
  • Conclude the thank you letter by mentioning again how interested you are in the position/program and why.

Formats to Use

Many wonder what type of thank you letter should be sent: typed, handwritten, or emailed.  Below is some guidance to help you with your decision:

Should it be...Typed or Handwritten?
Traditionally, the thank you note takes the form of a handwritten letter.  If your handwriting is legible, then this gesture can add a touch of personalization to your correspondence.  However, if your handwriting is poor, a typed letter is perfectly acceptable.  In addition, you may want to base your decision on how formally your interview is conducted. If your first impression feels strictly formal, then a typed letter may be more appropriate; if there is a more informal atmosphere, a hand-written letter may work better.

What about...Paper and Envelopes?
Thank you note cards with matching envelopes are appropriate for use, as long as they are simple, but stay away from cutesy graphics or greetings. High-quality stationery paper with a matching envelope is suitable as well.  Both can be found at most stationery stores or at the Vanderbilt Bookstore.  It is best when sending a thank you note to use neutral paper, such as white or cream, and to stay way from colored paper.

Should it be Emailed?
While a thank you email is less formal than a physical letter, an electronic thank you note may also be appropriate, depending on the situation.  If you are interviewing with a high-tech company or in a fast-paced industry, the interviewer may expect your response electronically.  Also, if you if all previous correspondence was via e-mail, or if the interview was sufficiently informal, then emailing the thank you letter is fine.

It is important to email a thank you note to the interviewer within 24 hours of the interview.  Many applicant decisions or second-round interviews will be made quickly; emailing a thank you note will reaffirm your interest in the position. Contact information will be available at the student sign-in desk following your interview. In this situation, you may also follow up with a handwritten letter if you feel one would be appropriate.

Click on the links below to view a Sample Thank-You letters:

Example Thank You Letter
Example Thank You Letter 2
Example Thank You Letter 3