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Writing an effective thank-you letter

A simple thank-you letter after a job interview can wield considerable power and influence, and reflect very favourably on your candidacy for a position.

It’s shocking, but the majority of job applicants fail to send thank-you letters after their interview. So few job applicants send thank-you letters that you automatically stand out if you do.

In sending a thank-you letter, you show your interviewer common courtesy and respect. You tell your interviewer clearly that you appreciate the time he or she has given you.

The letter will give you another opportunity to restate your interest in the position and the company, and to reiterate why you are the one for the job. If you have left the interview wishing you had more strongly emphasized a certain skill or experience, the letter gives you the chance to do just that.

Finally, your thank-you letter will reinforce the interviewer’s memory of you and your meeting. The letter could be the trigger that will prompt the interviewer to take immediate action and decide in your favour.

To create an effective thank-you letter, follow these five steps.

1. Thank your interviewer for taking the time to interview you.

2. Thank the interviewer for any specific things they did on your behalf.

3. Touch again upon the key points you made in your interview.

4. Expand upon or clarify responses you felt were weak.

5. Thank your interviewer.

Your thank-you letter will demonstrate your written communication skills. As with any written self-marketing document, it needs to be flawless. So make sure to review, proof and assess the document carefully before sending it out.

Writing a thank-you letter is not complex or time-consuming. It often makes the difference between the job going to you or someone else.

— Sharon Graham is principal consultant for Graham Management Group, executive director of Career Professionals of Canada, and author of Best Canadian Resumés. You can find further information and articles at