Writing a Thank-You Email After an Interview (with Examples)
So, you’ve nailed the interview. Your resume rocked, your answers were on point (for both common interview questions and behavioral interview questions), and you wrapped things up with some impressive questions of your own. You’re done! Right?
There’s one last step if you want to secure that dream role: you need to write a stellar thank-you email.
What is a thank-you email and why do you need one?
A thank-you email is, as its title suggests, a follow-up note after your interview. At a time when competition is fierce, a great thank-you note will make you stand out from the crowd. It should express your gratitude for the opportunity and your continued interest in the position. It gives you a chance to reiterate why the company should hire you and to mention anything you forgot to share during the interview.
Writing an effective thank-you email will show that you truly want the job and appreciate the time that the company has spent on you. In fact, in a poll conducted by TopResume, 68 percent of hiring managers confirmed that receiving a thank-you note impacts their final decision-making process.
When conducting video interviews, a thank-you email is particularly important. Interviewers often see dozens of candidates for various positions, and all those faces can run together. After your video interview, a solid thank-you note can remind the interviewer who you are and what you have to offer.
What does a sample thank-you email look like?
Let’s start with an example of a strong thank-you email. Then, we’ll break down the do’s, don’ts, and how-to’s so you can write your own.
Subject Line: Thank You: Project Intern Position Interview
Dear [Person’s Full Name],
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the Project Intern position yesterday. I so enjoyed learning more about [Company’s] work, culture, and future plans for growth.
As we discussed, the intern role sounds like a great fit for my experience and skill set. My coursework in marketing and advertising has given me appropriate foundational knowledge, and my role as social media manager for the school paper will allow me to add value to your summer campaigns. I’m especially excited about introducing the branch to the wonders of Snapchat! Below, I’m including a link to my marketing portfolio.
I know that a willingness to learn is essential for this role. I hope I was able to show you how driven I am to gain knowledge and hone my skill set with [Company].
Please feel free to reach out if you have further questions. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity!
[Job title/tagline, e.g., “Marketing Coordinator”]
[Links you would like to provide, prefaced]
What should you include in your thank-you email?
Here’s what’s included in a strong thank-you email (and in our example above):
- Say “thank you.” It’s the reason you’re writing the email, and it should be in your subject line and in your first sentence. Using the sandwich technique of placing a “thank you” at the beginning and end of your note is an effective strategy—just avoid coming off as too overbearing.
- Personalize the email by referring to any stand-out moments from the interview. By referring to your interview highlights, you remind the interviewer who you are and why you’re the best candidate. For example, “I especially enjoyed our discussion about sustainability; I was excited to find out that you’re as motivated as I am to reduce waste in business.”
- Practice empathy. These are strange times, and acknowledging that is important. Briefly check that everyone’s doing okay and staying healthy.
- Reiterate what makes you the best candidate for the job. Take every opportunity to reinforce why they should hire you. For instance, if you just interviewed for an accounting position, bring up any awards or compliments from performance appraisals that are relevant to the role.
- Mention anything you forgot to cover in the interview. This is your last chance to fill in any gaps.
- Conclude with a final word of thanks and look towards the future.
How do you make your thank-you email stand out?
Hiring managers read a lot of thank-you emails throughout the interview process. If yours is one of many, it can be difficult not to get lost in the crowd. Here are some tips for making your letter stand out:
- Keep it short and simple. The hiring manager is a busy person and will likely spend a minute or less on your email. They already know you, so you don’t need to retell your whole life story.
- Avoid generic phrases; instead, be specific.
- Be sure your email doesn’t sound like a template, where you just filled in the blanks with names and companies. You customized your resume and cover letter, so do a little extra work here, too.
- Keep it professional. Don’t use slang words or emoticons, and proofread it carefully to avoid typos.
- Emphasize the good, not the bad. Don’t try to justify anything that didn’t go as planned during the interview. If the rest of the interview went well, those other instances won’t matter.
- If applicable, include links to your work or to your social media profiles, such as LinkedIn. In the interview, you probably didn’t have a chance to show tangible evidence of your skills. This is your opportunity to show instead of tell.
Should you consider a video thank you?
In the age of COVID and virtual communication, some people are sending video thank-you notes as well. This is a great way to stand out if done correctly, especially because seeing your face again will remind the hiring manager who you are. If you decide to send a video follow-up, follow all the tips above. Keep it short, specific, and professional, but let your personality shine through.
When do you send it and to whom?
Once you’ve written a great thank-you email, you’ll want to hit “send” within 24–48 hours of your interview. Any later than this and it will be out of context for the hiring manager(s), giving them the impression that you’re forgetful or inconsiderate.
Vienne Cheung, a Partner at Motu Novu in Boston, prefers candidates that send a follow-up email within 24 hours: “For me, I read that as a candidate that is eager to work with us.”
Refrain from sending your email too early, however. Your note can serve as a gentle reminder about you to the hiring manager. That won’t happen if you follow up five minutes after meeting her. One exception to the 48-hour rule: If your interview is on a Friday, consider sending your email early Monday morning. That way, it won’t get lost in the pile of other weekend emails.
Best practice is to send a thank-you email to everyone with whom you met. If you met with a panel and don’t have everyone’s contact information, you can write a single thank-you note to the hiring manager. Just make sure to reference each person; it will show that you were paying attention.
Gretchen Skalka, senior manager at TBC Corporation, explains, “The hiring manager usually puts some thought, some strategy, behind the selection of people to co-interview. [Thanking everyone] shows that a candidate was paying careful attention to the entire room and content of the interview, and not simply focusing on the hiring manager.”
While you want to send your thank-you email out promptly, you’ll need to be patient when it comes to hearing back. Things are moving a bit slower than usual at many companies, so you’ll want to follow up regularly and graciously.