A follow-up letter refers to several different types of written communication that may take place in the process of a job search or interview process. It is used to move the relationship with a contact or potential employer to the next stage. Whether that is arranging an informational interview after a networking meeting, setting up a job interview, thanking a recruiter for an interview, or accepting or declining an employment offer.
Thank you Letters
Thank you letters are absolutely critical following an interview. Writing a thank you letter promptly makes you stand out from other applicants. This type of letter can be an email, a typed and printed letter, or a handwritten card. Make sure you remember to ask for your interviewer's business card to get their name, title and address correct. If you have a panel interview, be sure to send letters to each person on the panel. Even if you are not sure if you want the position, follow up with appropriate correspondence; you never know when one contact will be able to help you out with another.
A thank you letter should be brief and timely (same day or next day from the interview date). As with your cover letter, the tone of the thank you letter or email is more important than the content. Since it is important to send a thank you very promptly, the email format is a good idea. However, many recruiters still prefer a typed or handwritten letter mailed via U.S. Post. Decide which you think is the best for the particular employer based on your knowledge of the work culture of the organization. If you decide to send a handwritten or typed thank you letter, prepare it before your interview so you can mail it immediately afterwards. (Don't forget to buy a stamp!) In any case, the thank you card, letter or email should convey a positive attitude, energy, respect and confidence.
A thank you letter gives you a final opportunity to re-emphasize specific skills/abilities relevant to the position, so be sure to add anything you might have forgotten to mention in the interview, as well as highlighting any positive aspects of the interview. Use the same formula for thank you letters as in the cover letter — make the match, make the case, make the close.
Make the Match
Write a line or two making a personal connection. Use the name(s) of your interviewer(s). Use words like "thank you," "appreciate," and "enjoyed," and make reference to your interview day.
- "Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you (today/last Monday/date). I enjoyed meeting with (names) and seeing the (program/operation/office) firsthand."
Make the Case
Confirm your interest in the company or organization, and communicate confidence that you can do the job. Use words like "my," "achieve," "advance," "collaborate," "contribute," "success," and "goals." Reference the employer's management philosophy, work culture/work pace, or work environment to show that you are "a good fit."
- "I would be very happy to join the (company/team/project) where my (specific skill/professional objective/achievements) can complement the (outcome related to content of interview and job description)."
In a rare case, you may wish to write a letter that withdraws your name from consideration. Following the interview, you may decide this is not a job you are ready for or a job that you want. In this case, let the interviewer know, and thank them for the consideration you received. It always pays to treat every interviewer as someone who may cross your career path in the future!
Make the Close
You need a final sentence that communicates your position, your interest, your expectation, and your action. Keep this sentence upbeat — do not end with a sentence that communicates your need or a feeling of desperation.
- "Your consideration for the (position/opening) is very much appreciated. The (the company/your operations/our staff/the program) is very impressive and being confident in my ability to meet the challenges of this position, I hope to hear from you soon."
Your letter and your situation are unique. These examples are provided to help you learn a process for producing letters that will advance your job search. Whenever possible, bring your letters to the Career Center for review before sending them. Remember to send your thank you letters within 24 hours of your interview.