Writing a Professional Thank You Letter: Tips and Pitfalls

Writing a Professional Thank You Letter: Tips and Pitfalls

Just imagine: you’ve got your impressive resume and cover letter which have earned you an interview at the company you’ve been wishing to work at. Moreover, you have already met your HR manager and discussed your candidacy and the vacancy, seemingly quite successfully. So, what should you do next? Just wait for that desired call or email, confirming you are getting the job? Not quite so. You must first compose a thank you letter after an interview is over. Then you will have officially done everything possible to prove yourself as the best person for that position.

Now, if you think an interview thank you note is a no-brainer and can be written in a couple of minutes, you are seriously risking sabotaging everything you have accomplished so far. The same outcome is relevant should you decide not to write and send such a letter. First of all, someone else might, proving their intentions to the employer. And, secondly, because many companies and job positions require knowing and following certain formalities, this being one of them. So, by failing to provide such a letter, your application will be considered incomplete.

The Difficulties of Expressing Gratitude to a Job Interviewer

Hopefully, you understand the importance of thanking your interviewer in a written form by now, and it is crucial that you follow the tips we are about to provide carefully. A well-written thank you letter for an interview can have a major influence, tipping the balance in your favor, and so can a poorly-written one with the opposite effect.

The thing about expressing your gratitude is that you have to be very prompt about it, following up with it within twenty-four hours after the meeting (or up to a couple of days in some cases). If you are unsure you have managed to write your letter according to the rules or fearing it’s too bland, you can contact Resume101’s experts for cooperation in this matter. You will have to provide some information about how the interview went, and they will do the rest, making sure all the key elements are included and everything that is unnecessary is left out.

What a Thank You Note After an Interview Should Include

One would think expressing your gratitude to a person who has been responsible for noticing your resume and handling your interview is an easy task, and all you have to do is to be earnest and professional, choosing the right tone. However, there’s much more to that, and we will explain all the points that require special attention.


While this is the main purpose of a letter, you have to make sure it contains the words “thank you” and preferably in the very first sentence. That way, you will demonstrate that you really value the time of the person reading it and help them identify the kind of this message. The best way to go about it is by thanking for the time spent on an interview and reminding the position you are considered for.


You will have to analyze how the interview went to choose whether to send a sincere or professional thank you letter. The former will be appropriate if you have made a personal connection with an HR manager, while the latter should be used for a more formal experience. You will have a definite advantage by including a polite joke or mentioning something you discussed with the hiring manager compared to those monotonous texts received from other candidates but only if you feel it’s relevant. Being too familiar with your interviewer when there was not even the slightest hint of a personal connection can seriously undermine your position.


Display excitement at the prospect of joining the team and express your hopes of growing professionally at the considered job position, as well as contributing to the company. Your employers are likely to prefer those candidates who seem passionate about their job rather than simply displaying interest in making money. That, of course, also depends on the position you are applying for. You don’t want to sound insincere about it and if to be mocking anyone.


Pay attention to everything you see and hear while waiting for your turn and during an interview. You may overhear the company employees discussing some development plans or notice a brochure with the corporate news. For example, if the company is involved in some charity activity, you can mention it saying the idea of working at such a socially responsible company really appeals to you.

Skillful Advertising

Remind your recruiters about your most competitive qualities relevant for the job. This is your final chance to convince your potential employers that you are a much better choice than your competitors. Check the vacancy description once again to see the most important qualities the company is looking for and aptly bring them up in your letter, stating that possessing these qualities makes you believe you are a perfect fit for the job.


Despite the previous piece of advice, your thank you letter should not be quoting your resume or cover letter word for word. Instead, it should introduce some new information that seems appropriate to be mentioned based on the course of the interview. This is also your chance to include some experience or qualifications you did not think to mention during the meeting but find relevant and adding something to the image. Try to remember whether there were moments when your answers could have been misinterpreted or had an unexpected reaction and use this chance to clarify anything in a subtle manner.

Grammar and Spelling

Since the time for you to write and send this letter is limited, there is a risk of rushing it and overlooking some mistakes. Obviously, you should make sure there are none if you don’t want to spoil the impression you have succeeded to make. Luckily for you, there are spellcheck programs that make this task easier. For a handwritten letter, find someone to proofread it for you.

How to Write a Professional Thank You Letter

While having the power to improve your chances of getting hired, a thanking letter is also appropriate for cases when you decide not to pursue this job offer. You may have no complaints about how the interview went and consider the company a great place to work at, but there can be a change in your plans, for example, due to receiving confirmation from another company which you find even better. Whatever the case, you should thank the interviewer for their time and a well-held interview while informing him or her that they should no longer consider you as a potential candidate.

Let’s discuss the format of your letter now. The most common approach is to send an email since you want your message to be received not long after an interview. It’s possible to send an email and follow up with an actual letter if you want to make a stronger impression. However, that really depends on the industry you are getting a job in, and while law or finance firms absolutely expect you to send a letter, many other companies will be more than satisfied with a simple email.

A typed thanking letter should follow the professional format, meaning you should use a 10-12 point font that is standard for these purposes. One-inch margins are a perfect choice, and line spacing should not exceed 2.0.

A handwritten letter will surely create a more personalized impression, yet it should be legible, written in black ink, and still not exceed one page.

A Thank You Letter for a Phone Interview

If you were interviewed over the phone, it may be more difficult to leave a strong impression without seeing the person in front of you. Therefore, your letter can help you fill the gaps and establish an additional connection with a hiring manager. It can even sway your interviewer into inviting you into the office to have face-to-face communication, thus significantly improving your chances as a job candidate.

Here are some of the reasons to send your interviewer a gratitude letter shortly after you had an exchange over the phone:

  • first and foremost, such a letter demonstrates your serious intentions towards the job and readiness to get into the following application stages;
  • this is a chance to convince an HR manager to invite you to an actual interview;
  • you are able to bring up some of your best answers from the phone conversation, which will now be firmly associated with your name in the mind of a reader;
  • you have an opportunity to briefly mention certain skills, achievements, or other important details which were left out due to the nature of the interview.

What Is Best to Leave Out

You may be excited after an interview and feel like the job is in your pocket. Nevertheless, you have to dial back on conveying this feeling of triumph in your letter and limit the things you can share in it. The best thank you letter makes you look confident but humble, still waiting for the final decision of your potential employer and carefully trying to make it a favorable one for you.

Next comes the list of things that have no place in this document:

Generic Compliments

If you want to praise your interviewer or the company, avoid soft sawder that may come across as ingenuine. Instead, compliment on certain decisions taken in regard to handling an interview or professionalism the person really displayed. Sweet words won’t get you the job but may only alienate your potential employer against you.


Focus on thanking the person and don’t risk looking desperate by leaving requests like a re-interview or some favor.


If you feel like you made some mistakes during an interview or provided insufficient answers, don’t try to correct it in your letter by reminding about those negative moments. Instead, provide clarifications in a smooth way, disguising it as additional information or the key aspects why you think you fit the job.

Salary or Perks

This is neither the right place nor time to ask questions about the wages or other forms of remuneration you will be subject to should you get the job. First of all, these are the topics that are usually discussed during an interview. If you have some suggestions or want to clarify something, wait for the decision on your candidacy first.


If you failed to answer certain questions or provide some documents, just try to forget about it and hope that the hiring manager does as well. By attaching any previously missed documents, unless this was the HR’s request, you will only remind him or her about this oversight of yours.

Summing Up

According to HR managers, a thank you note will not miraculously make them change their decision in your favor, but it does have a positive effect when written properly. It will show that you are a person familiar with application procedures and are willing to go the extra mile to prove your intentions and leave a positive impression. So, it is still an essential element of applying for a job, and considering all the ways how you can mess it up, will definitely score you extra points if done right.

One of the key takeaways here is not to rush and prepare to write a thankful note beforehand, taking into the account the interview afterward. And should you need help with it, our professional resume writers will help you eliminate the compromising sentences and refine the letter.

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