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You’re fresh out of a job interview, and you think it went well. There were no awkward silences; you were confident and held eye contact, and you reeled off your expertise as if you were born for the job. But it’s not over yet; before you sit back and relax, it’s time to send a strong follow-up email to help seal the deal.

Why a thank-you email matters

It’s no exaggeration how competitive the job landscape is these days. It’s fortunate to get an interview in the first place. In fact, 85% of candidates that didn’t get the job believed that a real person at the company never looked at their application or resume. Chances are you’ll be pitching against dozens of other candidates, so you need to work extra hard to stand out.

While you’ll be doing the bulk of the legwork for the interview itself, it’s important not to forget the common courtesies that come afterwards, such as your post-interview thank-you email.

Not only will it help confirm why you’re perfect for the job, but it will demonstrate some of those qualities that future employers are on the lookout for: good manners, enthusiasm, and professionalism. In fact, studies show that over 80% of employers say a thank-you letter helps them make their decision; yet, only 27% of job seekers bother to write one.

When to send a thank-you email after an interview

It’s crucial to get the timing of your thank-you letter right. Too soon, and you may look over-eager (or that you had a prewritten message ready to fire off); too late, and they might have forgotten who you are.

Ideally, you should send your thank-you email within 24 hours, or the morning after your interview. Be careful to send your email during working hours or, again, you might come across as over-eager.

To help ensure you get your timing spot on, use Right Inbox’s Gmail Send Later function to write your email and then choose the specific time it will be sent for perfect timing.

Keep your subject line simple, providing just enough information about why you’re sending the email. For example, try “Thank you [first name]” or “Thank you [first name last name].”

Thank-you email best practices

Address it properly

You’ll already have a feel for the tone of the company you’ve interviewed with – some companies or industries are super-formal, while others have a more relaxed vibe. If in doubt, err on the side of professional-yet-friendly. After all, you’ve met them, but that doesn’t mean you’re now best buddies.

Also, by now you will know the name of the person or people who interviewed you, so a simple “Dear [first name]” should suffice. For your sign-off, drop the “Sincerely yours,” and write “Kind regards” or “Best wishes” instead.

Thank them

The first thing to convey in your thank-you letter is the obvious “thank you” – yet, surprisingly, this is often overlooked. Your interviewers have taken time out of their schedules to meet you, so it’s important to acknowledge that by thanking them for their time.

Reiterate why you’re the best person for the job

Your thank-you letter is another opportunity to restate why you’re right for the job. If your interview went well, then you’ll have made this clear already, using good examples to back up your claims. That said, your thank-you letter can sum up one or two main points so that they have written evidence of this for their future reference.

Clear up any misunderstandings from the interview

While it’s not worth dwelling on the parts of your interview that didn’t go so well, your thank-you letter is a chance to clear up any glaring misunderstandings or fill in any gaps. Be careful to do so succinctly; your letter shouldn’t be treated as a rerun of your interview.

Be authentic

It’s important that you present a personal side to your thank-you email in addition to highlighting your professional attributes. Pick out a specific part of your interview that went well to remind them of your strengths. You may have discussed a particular issue with them in the interview; if so, consider sharing a piece of content with them.

Link to further information about yourself

Your thank-you email is also your chance to provide further information about yourself, like your online CV or your personal website. It gives your potential future employers a chance to reference you and your experience but also to demonstrate your personal brand.

What to avoid in your thank-you email

Rambling

Your interview panel has already taken time out to see you, so don’t make them try to wade through a long rambling email. Keep it concise.

Cliches

Try to avoid generic statements in your thank-you email. Your email is a chance to remind your interviewers of your personality, so take a risk and make an impression.

Dwelling on the negatives

It’s easy to come out of an interview and obsess over the things that went wrong. However, chances are it’s not as bad as you think it was. Avoid using your thank-you letter to apologize for interview mishaps, drawing unnecessary attention to them. Instead, use your email to emphasize the positives.

Sending the same message to everyone on the panel

If more than one person interviewed you and you want to thank each of them, take time to write a different email to each recipient. Avoid the temptation to copy everyone on the same email or, worse still, copy and paste the same message and send it to everyone on the panel.

Bad grammar and spelling

You’ve already made a good enough impression to get an interview, so don’t blow it now with bad spelling and grammar. Check and double-check your email before you hit send. If in doubt, get a friend to look it over too.
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