If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter.
While this quote has been attributed to many, including Mark Twain and Winston Churchill, research tells us it was said by none.
Still, as any writer will tell you, it’s true.
It takes a lot longer to write a brief, compelling note than a lengthy, letter. That’s why composing a Thank You note is so tough.
Smart candidates email a thank you note within 24-hours.
A brief note. One that doesn’t require the reader to scroll. And scroll. And scroll.
Ideally, an e-thank you note, and e-cover letter, should run about 99 to 120 words. Which means you need to thank the interviewer and sell yourself quickly.
Beyond the requisite thank you, here are a few ideas of what you can include in a thank you note.
#1 Reiterate your excitement and enthusiasm about the company and the position. If you researched the company ahead of time and listened during the interview you should have plenty of information to draw on.
#2 Mention an idea you have for solving one of the problems discussed during the interview. If you’re at a more senior level, tempt them with the first 1 or 2 steps of your 30- or 90-day plan.
#3 Tell them something you forgot to mention. Maybe an example of how you solved a problem they are facing right now or a course you took that will enhance your candidacy.
A thank you note is also an opportunity to right any misconceptions. You might want to correct a misstatement or clarify your qualifications. You can also use this to provide additional insights, such as relevant volunteer experience, that might sway the hiring manager in your favor.
During the interview ask for the interviewer’s business card so you’ll have the correct contact information. If you forget, you can try to get the information from HR.
When you meet with several people, don’t send the same thank you note to each person. An interviewer who’s impressed may forward your email to someone else. Never, ever send a blanket email to everyone.
Finally, make sure to ask for the job. Don’t assume that they know how excited you are. Tell them.