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By Rachel Garson Taylor, NCA assistant director of student career advising, serving students in Kellogg Certificate Program for Undergraduates.

RachelWhen was the last time you received a thank you note?  I am not surprised if you are struggling to remember!  This is quickly becoming a lost art.  Multiple resources have uncovered that approximately 20% of candidates follow-up with a thank you note, by email and/or handwritten.

Interestingly, according to Business News Daily, 75% of hiring managers report that receiving a thank you note affects their decision making. CareerBuilder has identified that 22% of hiring managers are less likely to hire a candidate that does not send a thank you note after an interview.

Statistically speaking, writing a thank you message enhances your consideration in the selection process! This is all good, but does the quality of the thank you note have impact?  Perhaps I am reading too closely into the Business News Daily statistic which does not specify if that “affect” on decision making is positive or negative.  I personally believe it could go in either direction depending on the quality of the thank you note.

In my opinion, there are two types of notes that you could potentially send: the “thank you note” vs the “thanks a lot” note.  The former has a meaningful message and the latter is that of obligation.  To further discriminate between the two, just say them aloud.  It is hard to make “thank you” sound anything but positive and genuine; whereas, “thanks a lot” can convey different things based on your intonation.

My thought is that anything worth doing is worth doing well – your thank you note is no exception.   Use the thank you note as an opportunity to strengthen your connection to the interviewer.  The best way to accomplish this is to start each note from scratch and write it for the individual.  Be specific, genuine, and professional in what you’re writing.  This will help to demonstrate that you value the interviewer, what he/she shared, and his/her consideration of your candidacy.

I know you are tired after engaging in the whole career planning and job search process, but don’t let all your efforts get lost by not following through on this final step.

Find examples of post-interview thank you notes on the NCA website.