After The Interview...
The Thank You Letter

Do you really need to send the thank you letter after job interview?

As we progress in our careers the bar gets raised, hence expectations are raised as well...and whether we like it or not, as we age the battle to gain attention in a room full of candidates half our age, we need to make sure we are using ALL weapons available to us - therefore it IS more critical to send one.

Why The Thank You Letter?

In short and in plain language, it sets you apart from younger competition.  Today’s younger generations (Gen-x and Millennials), many lack the more polished and formalities that those of us over 50 were brought-up with!

It may not sound like much, but ANYTHING that helps you stand out from competition, does help.  Taking the time to craft a well written thank you letter shows how polished and mannered you are. 

It shows your detail and process oriented, and that you paid attention during the interview process about issues and challenges the employer was having. 

Allows you another opportunity to highlight your experience and bring forth a point you may have failed to mention during the interview.

Five Recommendations On What To Do, and What Not to Do:

  • During the interview process, your main goal was to highlight you and how you are the answer to a prospective employer’s problem, and of course leave a positive impression. The thank you letter is simply an extension of that…just another chance for you to leave an important impression that will help you standout and help folks remember you.
  • Addressed thank you notes directly to those you met during the interview process and no cookie cutter letters please.  Take the time and do it right. Always use their full name and official title in the heading of the letter as shown below – remember to get that all important business card!
  • When addressing the thank you letter, after “Dear”, do not use their first name, be professional and use Mr., Ms., or a title like Dr., Judge or Professor, Vice President as warranted.
  • If you had more than one interviewer, customize a letter or note specific to each person.  As an example, you will want to remember something each person said that you want to mention or something that was trying to accomplish with this position.  Take the time to personalized each note and stand out even more from those who do not go that extra distance.
  • Attach a business card to the thank you letter, if you don’t have a professional card yet, get one made (they are very inexpensive), and will help you build your brand, show your professionalism, and if you add a picture of yourself…all the better and a great leave behind as well – attach it to your resume!

Do Not Spend Too Much Time Debating Whether Your Thank You Letter is Emailed or Handwritten...The Important Thing Is To Do It and Send It! 

The kind of note to send, via email or handwritten and mailed depends on the situation.

Your thank-you letter should be "a sales letter selling you"…and should focus on why you are a good fit, how you are the solution and answer that they are searching for and close by saying you're looking forward to the next step (remember your ABC “always be closing”).

The Thank You Letter and Follow-Up Letters Really Do Differ...and Here Is How:

  • Thank you letters are used to "close the deal"
  • Follow-up letters are used to "break through any silence"

A thank you note after an interview and doing the follow-up is a long-time practice that gives you the opportunity to get your name in front of the interviewer one more time and to include some specifics about why you want the job or how you can help the company.

Stop worrying about how others perceive you...
and instead focus on making people see how you can contribute and manage situations and leverage your years of experience. 

If you do not get a reply in a few days, try again and be pleasantly persistent.

You might run the risk of annoying a swamped hiring manager – so be polite, but do be direct.  

As long as your messages are polite and brief, most interviewers will be impressed by your perseverance, communication skills and interest.

 - Keep your messages positive.  

 - Do not come across sounding worried, or desperate.

Being over 50 and fighting for a job is hard enough, do not make it any harder by becoming desperate – the interviewer will pick-up on that and it will work against you. 

In your thank you letter remind them about your conversations, say you enjoyed meeting them and learning more about the opportunity and company, and how it has increased your interest.

Going Into Recovery Mode...FAST!

If for some reason you blew it (or you feel you THINK you blew it)…bounce back and don't wait!

Perhaps you feel that you did not make the best impression in the interview – maybe you were just not feeling all that well that day, not on your "A" game.  A well crafted the thank you letter can be your chance to recover.

Do not wait for a response (good or bad)!

Quickly take the lead, break the silence, and tell them you that you are sending this note to thank them for their time, and that you would also like to cover "this or that" in more depth and detail.

Do not use any negative wording like, "I failed to..." or "I missed this point...”.

What you perceive as a missed point – may not be to them.  Perhaps provide them with additional resources, notes or comments that address what you feel you missed during the interview. 

Send additional documentation of your abilities, or even better yet, get references to provide notes on your behalf on how well you handle a few key and important situations, projects or challenges.

Learn to how turn a NEGATIVE into a POSITIVE

If you do get rejected...I get it; it is frustrating, aggravating and very hard to prevent those feelings of hopelessness; however, stand tall, be strong, professional and thank the person for letting you know.

Ask the interviewer if they can give you any feedback that you could use for future interviews...I would STRONGLY encourage this practice, as it will help turn a bad interview into a learning experience.

At the very least, you will take this learning lesson into your next interview and become better at interviews.

It certainly will not hurt, and will show your class, polish and maybe even help in another opportunity.

Some Closing Thoughts

Many people believe that the job interview is the last mainstay before either getting a job or not getting a job – that is not always true.  There are many factors before and after the job interview process that dictate if you are the right person or not.  Here is a great article by Krishna Reddy, that goes deeper into this.

I want to reiterate the power of positively toned language in the thank you letter.  If you think you failed your interview, or perhaps feel that you didn't bring out a few key factors that you should have, a well crafted thank you letter covering those points may be the thing that gets you a second chance by highlighting key strengths, experience and qualifications - that may not have been brought to light during the interview.

On the other hand, a thank you letter after a good and positive interview, will further separate you from the crowd, from of those who did not bother sending one, and show how detail oriented you are.

What's on your mind? Is there something specific I can help you with?

This site's success will hinge on me helping you solve problems. For those of us over 50, we face more challenges than others younger than us when competing for jobs and getting doors to open.

I invite you all to share your stories of challenge and successes. We all can learn from those who have faced the same challenges. The idea here is to help and be helped - so please add your comment or insight!

Thank you for your contribution.

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