To distinguish yourself from other candidates, always send a thank you note to the person or people who interviewed you.

Establish a personal connection through your note.

You are writing to a person who works in a specific place doing real things. So show that you know what they do. Refer to something raised during the interview itself. That will remind the reader about the interview. A shared experience is the beginning of a history together – whether you get the job or not. You never know when you’ll run into the person again, or if they will have another job someday for which you’d be right.

Play as if you’re on the new team NOW.

While writing the TY note, imagine you’re in the job already. The reader wants to know that you a) want the job and b) will fit into the company. So think about what you’d be excited about doing there and then refer to it directly in the letter. Offer an idea or two about how you’d tackle an issue the company faces. You might even consider sending an attachment with some ideas, and in the cover letter, tell the person what and why you are sending it. Your enthusiasm will convey itself to the reader.

Use details to stand out.

  • If your handwriting is legible, send a handwritten note on a professional-looking notecard (no kitty cats, please!). Handwritten notes that come in an envelope almost ALWAYS get routed to and then read by the addressee. If your handwriting is illegible, print. Last resort is typing. If you do type the cover letter, make sure you sign your name in blue ink (proof that YOU signed it), and jot a short note at the top or bottom saying “I look forward to hearing from you!” or “I have so many ideas to share with you!” or “I’m excited about the prospect of helping you reach your goals!” or something positive, personal and forward-looking.
  • If you must send an e-mail, spend time on it and make your e-mail smart. while e-mail thank you notes are more and more acceptable, they can easily be dismissed unread. Make sure you put “Thank you and some ideas” or something like that in the subject line, to entice the receiver to actually read the e-mail. Do make sure you put at least “Thank you” or “Thank you for seeing me” in the subject line.
  • Send it quickly! Have it postmarked the same day as the interview, or at most, the day after.
  • Say “Thank you” instead of Thanks (and definitely not Thx!). While the culture may be informal and your interview collegial, you still do not work there and need to show some respect for that distance.
  • Send a personalized note to every person with whom you had contact. “Personalized” means different words on each note. People do share notes with each other, and they will notice if you used the same language on each one. That will count far more AGAINST you than if you didn’t even send a note. Including everyone means that you may secure advocates for you in HR or among other staff.