Thank You letters are a lost art, but they’re a vital element to the job interview process that shows employers that you’re not only qualified, but a decent human being. If you want the job, write a Thank You note after the interview.

Since most people have been skipping this interview step, you may not know what to write in a Thank You letter. It’s simple, really. Here’s what to do:

Who Should I Thank?

Send a Thank You note to the person with whom you interviewed, and anyone who was especially helpful in the interview process. We always send thank you notes to recruiters if they went the extra mile to set up the interview and make sure we had all the information we needed to be successful at the interview, too.

Should I Send a Thank You Email?

In our modern world, where everyone communicates in text messages, you may think sending an email is the same thing as sending a proper thank you letter. It’s not. However, there are some times that a thank you email is perfectly appropriate.

Send a Thank You Email after a Phone Interview

If you’re interviewing with a big corporation, the first person you talk to at the company is likely an HR representative. Many times, HR representatives call you for a short, preliminary interview to make sure your qualifications indeed fit their needs, and to make sure you can put a sentence together before they send you on to the next interview stage. At the end of this phone interview, you should immediately send the HR representative a thank you email.

Send a Thank You Email after an Interview, but Follow it with a Real Thank You Letter

Immediately after you leave the interview, you should send a thank you email to the interviewer. You want them to know that you’re grateful, and that you know your manners, but this email does not excuse you from sending a for-real thank you note.

Handwritten or Typed?

If you want to stand out from the crowd, send a handwritten thank you note. The point of the note is not only to show your gratitude, but to show that you are a decent human being. To make a human connection, use writing written by a human (that’s you).

You should keep a package of blank Thank You notes and a sheet of snail-mail stamps handy throughout your job search process. Thank You notes are available almost everywhere. We buy ours at the Dollar Tree, where they are 10 for $1. They should not be cute—skip the kittens and flowers. Instead, opt for a simple thank you note that just says “Thank You” on the outside.

How Do I Start my Thank You Letter?

Start your Thank You note with a simple “Dear Mr. XYZ.” Unless the person with whom you interviewed asked you to call him or her by his first name, use the formal “Mr.” or “Ms.” and their last name.

If your interview was with multiple people, send each of them a separate Thank You note. You want to make an individual connection with each of them, and you can start that by showing your gratitude to each of them, individually.

What do I Write in my Thank You Note?

Your Thank You note should be short—three to four sentences are all you need. Start with one sentence that gives an overall thank you statement, then 2-3 sentences that refer back to the interview. Here are a few examples:

Example 1

Thank you for meeting with me yesterday. I enjoyed learning about the fabrication process and Plastics-R-Us, and I appreciate the time you took to show me around the plant. I am fascinated by your work, and would be excited to join your company.

Example 2

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. It was a pleasure to meet you, and I appreciate your kindness in introducing me to your colleagues and answering my questions about the executive assistant position at Telephones-R-Us. I can see how important your work is to maintaining the communication channels throughout the United States, and I would welcome the opportunity to work with you.

Example 3

Thank you for a wonderful meeting yesterday. I can see you work with inner-city orphans is essential to ensuring the children have the opportunity to go to college. I am grateful for the time you took to teach me about your work and how I might fit into your processes as a grant writer for Orphans2College. It would be a privilege to join your organization, if selected.

Mail Your Thank You Note Quickly

Don’t procrastinate writing and mailing your Thank You note. Address it and put it in the mail no later than the day after your interview.

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