MASTER THE POST INTERVIEW

Your mother taught you to say thank you. She nagged and pleaded with you, and finally, it's become second nature.

Be sure to perfect the art of saying thank you when interviewing for a job. Career experts advise that you send a thank you-note after every interview -- no employer will ever complain about getting one. Besides, since more people do not send thank-you notes than those who do send them, you can use the thank-you note as your opportunity to shine.

When writing your note, keep it to a short and sweet three paragraphs. Consider touching upon these topics:

Paragraph 1: Address the note to the person with whom you met, sending a separate note to every person who participated in the interview (ask for business cards during the interview so you can correctly spell everyone's name). Express your gratitude to the interviewer for the meeting. As people usually meet with numerous job candidates, always mention the date of your interview.

Paragraph 2: Use this paragraph to your advantage. You have a few options on its topic:

  1. Mention a skill or experience that you want to emphasize more strongly.
  2. Strengthen any responses that you felt you answered weakly.
  3. Add in anything you forgot to discuss such as relevant experience in the field. Monster(R), an online career resource, suggests that you say, "After our discussion, it occurred to me that I forgot to tell you about..."

Paragraph 3: Hit it home in the last paragraph by expressing your excitement and interest in the employment opportunity. Tell the employer that you look forward to hearing from him or her.

Experts differ on whether you should send a thank-you note via regular mail or e-mail. Take your cue from the office or your correspondence with the interviewer. If the office is super casual and you dealt with the interviewer via e-mail, it should be acceptable to shoot him a line. For more formal offices or someone whom you communicated with via phone, a handwritten or typed thank you on business-like stationery or notecard is best.

Whatever form you choose, keep it professional, void of typos and grammatical errors. Even if you had a friendly encounter with the interviewer, your note may go into your file and be read by people you've never even met.

Send the note 24 hours after your meeting. If you know the company will be making an immediate hiring decision, consider hand delivering, faxing or e-mailing the note.

By taking the time to write a thank you, you can have an edge over the competition. And that means that you may get a new job and they won't ... just for being polite.

It also might help to take a look at some samples to help you get started: