Ask an Expert: Top 5 Questions About Thank-You Letters

Thank You LettersAOL Jobs readers frequently send in questions about thank you letters. Here are answers to our readers' top 5 questions.

1. Do hiring authorities really read thank-you letters?

Some do, some don't. Some hiring managers feel that the thank-you letter is a good indicator of the candidate's professionalism and proof of their interest in the open position. Others don't read the letter, but still expect one. Some don't expect them or read them, but it doesn't hurt to send one. Since you never know what type of hiring manager you are dealing with, it's always best to send one.

2. What information should be included in a thank-you letter and how long should it be?

The first paragraph should communicate gratitude for the opportunity to meet.

The second paragraph should recap your strengths and draw a connection between those strengths and the needs of the employer.

The third paragraph should reference something specific from the conversation with the hiring manager that shows your interest in what the person said and proves that you understand their hiring needs.

The fourth paragraph should reiterate your continued interest in the job and express that you look forward to hearing from the employer regarding the next steps in the employment process.

Keep the thank-you letter to four paragraphs and approximately a half page in length.

3. Should I send the thank you letter via email or snail mail?

While both methods are acceptable, I recommend sending the thank-you letter by email. It's best to write the thank you letter within 24 hours of the interview. By using e-mail you expedite the delivery process and create another touchpoint with the hiring manager while you are still "fresh in their mind." In addition, the email serves as an "electronic breadcrumb" that can be easily and quickly shared with others in the organization.

4. Which is more appropriate: a typed or a handwritten thank-you?

I recommend sending a typed thank-you letter. This way you can be sure that the receiver can clearly read and understand your message. I recognize that some hiring managers do like the personal touch of a handwritten note, but in general the typed note is a more effective strategy.

5. If I interview with more than one person, do I have to send them all a thank-you letter?

Yes! Send a thank you note to anyone who assists you in your job search, including networking contacts and recruiters. If you meet with several people for interviews related to the same position, try to pick out one specific highlight from your conversation that personalizes the letter. For example, you might write, "I appreciate the information you shared with me regarding the company's global expansion plans and I am confident that my background is a strong match for your company's future goals."

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I did one of these and it didn't work, employer did not hire. Next time around, I will save my effort and pride and not write a thank you note. If there is one job and 5 people interview and all write thank you notes, what does it come down to, who's card looks prettier? Give me a break.

May 23 2011 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you should keep these notes short, sweet, and to the point... these are busy people, and they dont have time to read a long letter. Lets face it, if they had extra time on their hands they would not have the need to hire someone else. keep it to a few sentances and include a bit of teh stated info as well as your contact info... most professionals prefer the thank you e-mail and always remember to put your name at first and last at the bottom of teh e-mail... do not attach your resume to it... iif they need it again they will ask for it...

May 23 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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