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The Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid In Your “Thank-You” Note

It’s no secret that it’s good practice to send a thank-you note after finishing an interview. Doing so shows courtesy, professionalism, and respect—after all, your interviewer is considering you for a position with their company and has taken time out of their day to meet with you. But how can you write a thank-you note that will get an employer’s attention and help you stand out? Start off by avoiding these top 10 mistakes many job seekers make:

  1. Sending the note immediately. Firing off a quick thank-you note from your phone as soon as you leave the interview may not only come off as desperate, it could also show that you haven’t put very much thought into what you’re saying—or worse, that you’ve prepared a generic thank-you note ahead of time and you’re just clicking “send.”
  2. Sending the note too late. While you don’t want to send the note as soon as you and the interviewer part ways, you should still be sending one within 24 hours. Waiting days or even weeks is entirely too long and can be too little too late in an employer’s eyes.
  3. Missing grammar/spelling errors. This should go without saying, yet even the brightest candidates still make this mistake on plenty of job search documents and correspondence. It’s a common and easy mistake to make, so make sure to double and triple-check your note before sending it off. If you have to, use the old proofreader’s trick and print it out; we tend to catch more mistakes on paper than we do on a screen.
  4. Being long-winded. It’s a thank-you note, not an essay or a cover letter. Keep it to one or two short paragraphs max.
  5. Not personalizing each email. If you’ve interviewed with multiple parties, send each person a personalized email rather than CCing everyone on the same note. This is a much more courteous and personal approach that exhibits professional savvy and good interpersonal skills.
  6. Getting names wrong. Personalizing each email can make it easy to confuse names or spell them incorrectly. Make sure you’re getting everyone’s name right. At best, a misspelled name will look unprofessional; at worst, it could offend the hiring manager you’re addressing.
  7. Being too casual. No matter how well you and the interviewer clicked, remember that this is still a professional transaction and no decisions have been made yet. Starting your email with “hey” or anything similarly casual is usually a bad idea.
  8. Viewing it as another “to-do.” While a thank-you note should definitely be on the to-do list, don’t treat it as just another item to tick off. Put thought into your note and take your time with writing it.
  9. Only saying “thank you.” These notes offer a great opportunity to expand on what you spoke about in the interview and further explore the position, so why not take advantage of that? Despite the name, a thank-you note should do much more than just express gratitude. Take a few sentences to expand on something from the interview and spark further conversation.
  10. Focusing too much on yourself. While it’s helpful to offer another reason you’d be great for the job, just leave it at one or two sentences. Focusing too much on yourself can come off as arrogant and self-centered at worst, so make sure to include something else—such as a question you didn’t think of in the interview, for example.

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