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How to make your post-interview thank you stand out with employers

Wednesday, November 9 2016 12:00am

College of Business Associate Director of Alumni Engagement Holly Seckinger shares six ways your thank you note can leave a lasting impression on employers.

Holly Seckinger, associate director of alumni engagement, began writing thank you notes when she was just a little girl. Holly’s father encouraged her to write a thank you note for every birthday and Christmas gift she received from her relatives.  Now, after her 13-year career, the former Vice President of Fifth Third Bank in Columbus, Ohio has written and received hundreds of thank you notes.

Holly shared her expertise on how your thank you can leave a lasting impression on employers.

1.     ALWAYS send a thank you note following an interview.

This is a great way to bring the interviewer’s attention back to you, especially if you were one of the first interview candidates. It is less common for someone to send a personalized thank you note, so this is one way to stand out and show your thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

2.     It’s okay to send an email thank you, but I recommend following up with a handwritten note, too!
In today’s fast paced world, people tend to follow up with an email thank you first, as it is more timely. However, I always recommend that you follow up with a personalized handwritten note. There may be some overlap between your email and note, which is okay; it’s the extra thought and effort that counts! 

3.     Remember the goal of sending a thank you.

Some people recommend using a thank you note as one last opportunity to sell yourself to the organization. In my experience, the thank you note is not the place for that.  You should be selling your skills in your resume, cover letter and interview, NOT in the thank you. Your thank you note should be sincere in thanking them for their time.  Think of this note as fun and creative, like a thank you note you would want from a friend.     

4.     Find a commonality between you and the interviewer.

After emphasizing how much you appreciated the employer’s time, discuss that unique commonality you found between yourself and the interviewer. Are you both Ohio University alumni? Maybe you both played softball growing up. Find something that struck you in the interview; this will show the employer that you paid attention and can also demonstrate your fit within the company.   

5.     Appeal to the interviewer with the style of your thank you note.

Did you interview with a formal, professional company?  Was your interviewer bubbly or energetic? Match the style of your thank you card to the company and interviewer.  For example, if I am interviewing with an accounting firm, I would choose a thank you card that has a relatively plain front in comparison to a more creative and vibrant card that I would send to a start-up marketing firm. This again shows your attention to detail, and will appeal to the interviewer.

6.     Don’t write the same thank you message for everyone.

If you interview with multiple people, you should write a personalized thank you message to each one. Since these people work together, they will likely see your thank you notes and you want to make sure that you included one or two unique commonalities with each person. This may take some time, but it’s worth it.     

It’s important to think of your thank you note as the bow on top of the package. The package is your content, such as your resume, cover letter and interview. The bow is the thank you note that puts the finishing touch on all of your hard work, and helps you stand out amongst the crowd.