Are Thank You Notes a Waste of Time?

WorkCoachCafeWith an estimated mere 5% or so of job seekers sending thank you’s after interviews, the impact for those who take advantage of this little-used strategy can be significant.

Guest contributor Meg Guiseppi offers tips to make thank you notes really work for you. Meg is a 10-time certified career professional (including Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Social Branding Analyst – LinkedIn Profile Strategist, and Certified Executive Resume Master) who partners with c-suite and senior-level executives to differentiate their unique value proposition to Land a Great-Fit New Gig!™

Why and How Thank You Notes Can Help You Succeed in Your Job Search

By Meg Guiseppi

Job seekers these days seem to pay less attention to good manners and etiquette through the job search process . . .

Which makes these positive qualities an even more powerful asset to those who always display them. People with particularly good manners stand out above those who don’t bother or never really learned how.

Here’s a piece of advice to job seekers at every level – from entry-level to the c-suite:

Buy a few boxes of quality thank notes and plenty of postage stamps,
and start using them regularly.

Yes, I mean good old-fashioned paper note cards.

Think about the last time you received any kind of hand-written note in the mail. Didn’t it make you feel good – that someone took the time and consideration to sit down, pen some thoughts, and pop it in the mail?

In a pinch, emailed thank you’s are okay, and sometimes the only option if timing is a factor, but they just don’t have the impact a snail-mailed one does.

7 Reasons Thank You Notes Help You Land a Job

Sending thank you notes to the interviewers helps you succeed in your job search in these seven ways:

  1. They allow you to thank interviewers once again for their time.
  2. They keep you top-of-mind as a good-fit candidate.
  3. They allow you to mention highlights of the interview conversation and reiterate your interest in the position and the company.
  4. They provide an opportunity to once more reinforce your personal brand and value proposition for that company.
  5. They provide an opportunity to bring up information you poorly addressed or forgot in the interview.
  6. They provide an opportunity to ask about the next step in the interview process.
  7. They can be the make-or-break deciding factor in you landing at that company sometime in the future.

I often hear stories about job seekers who didn’t get the job, but sent thank you notes anyway, and eventually landed the job when the first hire didn’t work out. Employers were that impressed with the fact that they had sent thank you notes.

[MORE: After the Job Rejection, Why Following Up Gracefully Works.]

How to Write Effective Thank You Notes

DON’T write the note before the interview and hand it to the employer at the end of the interview.

Tips to make the best impression with your thank you notes:

➤ Get the full name, correct spelling, and title of each interviewer. Collecting everyone’s business cards is a great way to do this.

➤ Take a little time right after the interview to jot down the following:

  • Critical questions they asked.
  • Your answers that had a positive impact, captured their attention, and/or represented important skills to meet the company’s current challenges.
  • The concerns about you they voiced.
  • Items you forgot to mention in the interview.

➤ Writing  your notes, be sure to:

  • Personalize the content in each note. Don’t copy exactly the same information in every one. These people may share the notes you sent them.
  • Sign the letter.

[MORE: Sending Successful Job Interview Thank You Notes.]

Build Your Brand

Savvy job seekers send personalized hand-written thank you’s to just about everyone they interact with in their job search – everyone involved in interviews, people in their network who provide introductions, employers and colleagues who write recommendations, etc.

Acknowledging your appreciation can make all the difference in keeping you and your personal brand top-of-mind with them for opportunities they hear about that may be a good fit for you.

Meg is the author of 23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land.” Connect with her at for c-suite personal branding and executive job search help and on Google+ and Twitter (@MegGuiseppi).

More About Thank You Notes

Sending Successful Job Interview Thank You Notes

Pardon Me But Your Attitude Is Showing

Did I Screw Up My Job Interview Thank You Letter?

The First Thing to Do After a Job Rejection


  1. I agree with everything you state in this post – in theory. In practice, physical mail is becoming less and less a daily matter for managers. In the last 3 companies I have worked for, mailboxes were in a central (translation: inconvenient) place, well away from usual traffic areas, rarely contained anything except vendor junk mail except for the legal folks, and it could take over 2 weeks for mail to be timely delivered, if at all. Even interoffice mail to a person literally down the hall can take weeks.

    So, while an attractive, nicely handwritten thank you note may be well received, does it do you any good if the manager receives it 3 weeks after the interview, while all the other candidates sent thank you emails HOURS after the interview? I think you might stand out negatively due to your LACK of an email response.

    So, in your opinion is an email thank you followed up by a written thank you overkill? Groveling? Or a pleasant reminder? Or might you rethink your position?

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      From Meg Guiseppi —

      Hank, I believe there are many workplaces where regular mail is delivered internally in a timely manner. But to play it safe, it may be best to first send an email thank you, followed by a hand written one. I don’t think that’s overkill. It would be another opportunity to stay top-of-mind. Thank you for commenting!

    • Joshua Brown says:

      I’ve told my students in the past to carry the small packs of thank you cards in their car. After the interview is over, run out to your car and write the thank you note. Come back and drop it off with the secretary.

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