Thank You Notes: An Important Part of Your Job Search

By Sarah Hildebrand

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash 

Thank you notes are an important part of conducting a job search and making professional connections. They help show that you are genuinely engaging with someone and appreciative of their time and guidance. Once you begin writing thank you notes, you’ll be amazed at how little time it takes and how big of an impression they make.

Thank You Note FAQs

Why are thank you notes important?

There are many reasons why you should write thank you notes. First and foremost, it is the polite thing to do. It doesn’t take very long and helps generate a lot of good will. In this day and age, thank you notes are often expected and people will notice if you don’t send one.

The benefits of writing thank you notes vary based on what you are thanking someone for. If you’re writing to thank your interviewers during a hiring process, thank you notes have several advantages. First of all, they help make a good impression and may set you apart from other candidates who do not send them. Thank you notes are also an opportunity for you to sell yourself for the position one last time. If there’s something you forgot to mention about yourself during the interview, you may be able to slip it into the thank you note. This is a final chance for you to remind your interviewers why you’re the best fit for the job. If you can remember something specific that an interviewer said, you can also refer to how helpful or interesting you found it, which might flatter the person and help them warm up to you.

Writing thank you notes to other individuals who help you during your job search also has several benefits. For one, it’s an integral part in helping to develop and maintain relationships. Each time you communicate with someone in your network, you’re reinforcing the connection and helping them to remember who you are in a positive way. Saying thank you when someone reaches out will also increase the likelihood that they will continue to contact you when they hear of job openings or stumble across other resources that might be useful to you.

When should I write a thank you note?

Any time someone helps you in your job search, you should write them a thank you note. It’s especially important to write thank you notes to your interviewers during a hiring process, but you should also write thank you notes to people with whom you do informational interviews, as well as to anyone who helps make an introduction for you, sends you a resource, forwards you a job ad, or does anything else to help you with your search.

How quickly should I send one?

Thank you notes to interviewers should be sent within 24 hours. Hiring processes sometimes move quickly once interviews are finished, so you want to make sure your interviewers see your note before making a final decision. For this reason, it’s also best to send thank you notes via email.

Thank you notes to others should also be sent in a timely manner. Try not to let things sit in your inbox too long.

What should I say?

As a general rule of thumb, the more involved the interaction, the more detailed the thank you note should be. If someone sends you a resource, it might be enough to say, “Thanks so much for sending this along!”

On the other hand, if someone interviews you or agrees to mentor you in some way, you should put a bit more time into your note. Every thank you note you write in one of these situations should be personalized. People can always tell the difference between a generic and a thoughtful letter, so try to reference specific moments of the conversation or things you found helpful. To make the process of writing thank you notes easier, it might be helpful to write down some details of the conversation shortly after it takes place. Think about what stood out to you. What did you gain through the interaction that warrants your appreciation? Was something the person said particularly interesting or useful?

Writing a Thank You Note in 3 Steps

1. Say Thank You

To begin a thank you note, write a sentence thanking the person for how they helped you in your job search. Did they take time to meet or interview you? Did they help you expand your network or give you helpful information about a hiring process?

2. Add Details

Next, get more specific. Write a couple sentences that detail what you enjoyed about or gained from the interaction. What’s a specific thing they said during a conversation that stood out to you? What did you learn? What has their action helped you achieve?

If this thank you note is to an interviewer, you should additionally use it as an opportunity to reinforce why you’re the right person for the position. Reiterate your strong interest and briefly summarize your key qualifications that would make you a great fit.

3. Say Thank You Again

Finally, end with another thank you and a sign-off. Thank them once more for their time or assistance and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them soon or keeping touch.