How to Write a Professional Thank-You Email

Originally published by USNews.com

Loren Margolis, Founder & Managing Director, TLS Leaders

A well-crafted thank-you email after an interview demonstrates your professionalism and genuine interest in the company.

In a competitive job market, every little detail counts. So, while a thank-you email may seem like a small gesture, a well-written one can set you apart from the sea of competition and showcase your interest in the position.
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Crafting the perfect email can be tricky. But don’t worry. We’ll guide you through the essentials of writing a professional thank-you note to help you leave a lasting impression on your potential employer.

Why Send a Thank-You Email?

  • Being polite is a professional superpower. A recent survey by Zety found that conscientiousness and agreeableness are the two top qualities employers look for in potential new hires and job candidates. To demonstrate your thoughtfulness, good manners and ability to follow up, always send a thank-you letter after any interaction during the hiring process.
  • Demonstrated interest. Given the volume of applications and interviews hiring managers have to sift through to find their ideal hire, sending a thank-you letter helps you stand out from the crowd and showcase your genuine interest in the company. Certified career and resume strategist Victoria Morneau recommends sending a thank-you note even if you’ve been rejected for the job, as circumstances can change, and you might still be considered for future opportunities. “Back when I interviewed for my first real job upon graduating post-secondary, I was told I was the only candidate to send a thank-you note. Needless to say, I was hired.”

When Should a Thank-You Letter Be Sent?
The general rule of thumb is to send a thank-you letter to everyone you’ve interacted with during the hiring process. This means not just the interviewer from the first round but also those who participated in subsequent rounds – even if you’ve already met and thanked them before.

To ensure that the person receives your thank-you letter while the interview is still fresh in their memory, Morneau says it’s best to “send a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview, during office hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.).”

And if you haven’t heard back from your desired company after a week, it may be appropriate to check in on the hiring process. Beyond that, she advises that you refrain from further follow-ups. “I once dealt with a candidate who kept pushing and pushing for more information on why they weren’t hired. I think it’s appropriate to ask for constructive feedback, but after that, you need to know when it’s time to move on.”
What to Include in a Thank-You Email

Here are five elements to include in your thank-you emails:

  • Conversation reminder. Joseph Liu, career change consultant and host of the “Career Relaunch” podcast, says, “For example, you could include one key learning, a memorable takeaway or a reminder of why you’re excited about the role.” By mentioning specific points from the interview, you demonstrate your engagement and attentiveness to the discussion.
  • Your gratitude. In a few sentences, thank the interviewers for their time and for allowing you to interview for the role. While this may seem obvious, Liu says it’s important to explicitly include the words “thank you” in the email.
  • The value you could provide. Ideally, you want to demonstrate your ability to add value to the company. To do so, Liu says you could “build on an idea you discussed, share a resource or even offer to introduce the interviewer to a helpful contact.” However, don’t stress too much if you’re struggling to come up with something valuable to share. It’s better to skip this step than to force something into your email that feels inauthentic or forced.
  • Your interest in the company. In the thank-you email, reiterate why you’re interested in the role and why you’re the right person for it. For example, you could explain how your current skills transfer to the position you interviewed for.
  • Next steps. Following an interview, Liu says you should send a thank-you email “explicitly stating you hope the hiring manager will give you the opportunity to progress to the next round of interviews.” And if you don’t hear back from the company after a week, send a follow-up email to show your eagerness to pursue this opportunity.

Professional Thank-You Email Samples
Refer to these samples to get your creative juices flowing before crafting thank-you emails following different stages of the interview process.

Thank-You Email After a Phone Screen:
Here’s what you could send to a recruiter after an initial phone screening interview:

“Hi Anna,

Thank you for discussing the (insert job title) position at X Company with me today. I was glad to hear my background is an ideal match for the team, and I look forward to the next steps in the process.”

“Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today about my interest in joining X Company as an (insert job title). I understand you must engage with many talented applicants, and I appreciate your eagerness to delve into my background and skills.

I’m confident that my previous experiences in various areas, namely A, B and C, are directly in line with the responsibilities that come with this position, and I’m thrilled at the prospects of adding value to your organization.

I remain very interested in this position and look forward to taking the next step of an in-person interview. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you need any further information.”

Thank-You Email After an Interview:
A thank-you email is a customary gesture that speaks volumes about your character. So, regardless of how you fared in your first round of interviews, always send a thank-you email within 24 hours. Doing so shows the hiring team you appreciate the opportunity and highlights your professionalism and interest in the position.

Here are two templates to help craft your thank-you emails after an interview:

“Dear Miss Adams,

It was a pleasure meeting you today at X Company. I genuinely appreciate you taking the time out of your hectic schedule to introduce yourself and hear about my qualifications. Your question on A was excellent, as it allowed me to explore the topic of B with you.

After our meeting, I took some time to reflect upon our conversations, and it dawned on me that while responding to your question on C, I failed to elaborate on D. I believe that providing you with this additional information will help your assessment of my candidacy.

Finally, I hope my background and experience in A, B and C will help demonstrate my ability to offer unparalleled value to your company.

Thank you once again for your valuable time and consideration. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can provide any other information that will help to make an appropriate evaluation of my candidacy.”

“Hi James,

Thank you so much for your time today. I truly enjoyed learning more about the growth and future goals of the X team at (insert company name). I believe the knowledge I gained from my previous company’s experience with a similar growth spurt could be of great value to your team.

Please let me know if I can provide any additional information to demonstrate my qualifications. I’m very interested in continuing in the interview process and appreciate your ongoing consideration.”

Professional Email for a Status Update:
In most cases, you should hear back from the company within one week (two weeks max) after the first round of interviews. Unless the hiring team has specifically informed you that it’ll take longer, consider sending a follow-up email to check the status. Here’s what it could look like:

“Hi Mary,

I really enjoyed meeting with you on (insert date) and wanted to express my gratitude for the opportunity to discuss my qualifications and skills for the position of (insert job title).

As you know, I’m very interested in becoming a part of (insert company name), and I’m both excited and eager to potentially join your team. I understand that the selection process can take time, and I would like to follow up with you on the status of my application.

May I kindly ask if there are any updates on the position I applied for? It would be helpful if you could give me a rough timeline for when I can expect to hear back from you.

Again, thank you so much for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.”

Check Your Work
Your thank-you email shows the hiring manager how you communicate, so double-check it and ensure the spelling and grammar are correct. Loren Margolis, certified career coach and founder of TLS Leaders, says it’s also important to “match the tone of your thank-you emails to the tone of the organization.” For example, if the company has a formal culture, start your greeting with “Dear (name)” or “Hello (name)” instead of “Hey (name).” But if it’s a more casual startup, using “Dear (name)” may make you appear too formal.

Also, remember that some hiring managers might share notes with other team members, so don’t forget to customize your emails based on the person’s title, department and interests to avoid looking like you’ve copied and pasted the same message multiple times.