Thank You Letters...What Works?
04.14.09 | Interview Advice | Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline Incorporated
Thank you letters are not just the dreaded notes that you have to write after your wedding or some charity event that you took part in. In the working world, they can literally make or break you when being considered for a job opportunity - they can also help you seal the deal on a sale. Thank you letters, in their entirety, are very simple. A well executed thank you letter can show your professionalism, creativity and persistence with follow up, which we all know is very important in sales. However, a terrible thank you letter can cause you to lose a potential job offer no matter how well the interview process went. How you ask? I once had a candidate misspell the company name in the thank you email, which in turn ushered him out the door of his interview process. I've also had a candidate write a thank you letter with terrible punctuation and horrifying grammar which had the same result. If you're going to put such lack luster follow up into a note to a potential employer, that tells them that you'll do that same to new business prospects and companies simply do not hire those kinds of sales professionals.
So, how do you write an effective thank you letter? It is quite simple, my friends. All you need is four main components:
- 1. Thank the interviewer for their time.
- 2. Include three reasons on why you're interested in the position - repeat things that you discussed in the meeting.
- 3. Include three things why you think you'd be a good fit.
- 4. Wrap it all up with a call to action for your next follow up and you've got yourself an amazing thank you letter that will ensure that your resume and candidacy don't go in the trash.
When you're writing a thank you letter be conscious of your audience. Are you writing to the sales manager or HR? If you're writing to sales managers, you want to be more direct in why you think you'd be a good fit and get technical. What are the main skills that you need to know for this job and emphasize that you have those - show them exactly what kind of sales professional you are. If you're writing to HR, you want to be more general and enthusiastic about the role and the company in whole.
The timeliness of the letter also plays a key factor into the notes effectiveness. I am a firm believer that you should follow up the day of the interview. Once you leave the office the interviewer has time to digest your candidacy: Do you have the skills? Will you fit in with the team? Do you share the same company values? Is he/she really interested in making a career with the company? And right as their thoughts of you start to fade, you want to remind them again of who you are and why you're a good fit - with a strong thank you note. You should also follow up after every interview but you don't have to write the same thing every time. The more you meet with the person, the less formal the letter has to be. Another great touch is to send an actual hand written card. In the world of Web 2.0 that we currently live in, getting a card in the mail is one of those personal touches that one tends to remember. The same goes for following up on a sales call. There have been several success stories of companies taking risks on a vendor after a personal card was sent.
So, thank away and do it now! And, remember, make it timely, write with conviction and check your grammar! Don't hesitate to call Treeline for help.
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