Thank you notes
You have put together the resume, the cover letter and gone through the interview - congratulations! Don't stop now - there is at least one more step before you are through. The thank you letter can not be neglected in today's competitive market. You need an edge over the other candidates and you can increase your chance of being hired by writing them - by marketing yourself to them one more time. The bottom line is that less than 10% of interviewees ever follow-up interviews with thank you letters. If you do, you rise that much higher to the top of the candidate pool.
How To Write a Thank You Letter
You should plan to send a thank you letter as soon after the interview as possible. To be most effective, it should arrive prior to the final hiring decision. A thank you letter should say much more than "thank you". Here are some of important points you may want to include:
Convey your interest in and enthusiasm for the school district and the position for which you interviewed. Try to be specific about why you are interested and how you are a good fit for the school.
Address Unresolved Points
Address any issues or questions that came up during the interview that you feel you did not fully answer. This letter is your last chance to make a positive impression on the interviewer.
The letter must be genuine, unique, and sincere - assure them you recognize the importance of the meeting and appreciate their time.
You will undoubtedly be one of many interviewees in a short time period - you need to set yourself apart from the other candidates so they will remember you when you leave. In your letter, highlight a key point from your interview that you believe the interviewer will remember, and therefore remember you. Additionally, if you meet with more than one person, consider sending them all thank you letters, each one a bit different; you may not know exactly who in the group will be making the decisions. This will also force you to remember with whom you interviewed.
Make One Last First Impression
Interviewers, especially if they are interviewing several people in a short time period, will typically only remember 3-5 things about you. Choose 3-5 points about your candidacy - the best you have to offer - and highlight it in your resume, your cover letter, the interview, and finally, in the thank you letter.
Should I Send It Typewritten, Handwritten or via Email?
There are many opinions about the presentation style of a thank you letters. We generally recommend typing the letters in a standard business-style format (much like your cover letters), triple-checking for typos and grammatical errors. You are being evaluated as a professional and typing it confirms that this meeting was important enough to take the time to present yourself in a professional manner.
There are times, however, when it may be appropriate to send a handwritten thank you letter. If someone you know "pulled some strings" to get you the interview or there was a mutual acquaintance of some kind; if you personally know the interviewer; or if the interviewer was an alumni of your institution. Many students choose institution-specific postcards or stationary from the college bookstore. Be sure your handwriting is legible and neat. If you need to expand on some of the issues presented in the interview, then a more lengthy, typewritten letter is better. Generally speaking, we recommend that you type your thank you letters.
Sending thank you letters via email is fine as long as it fits the "culture" of the organization and is used appropriately. If an employer has an email account on his business card or the school district is very technologically oriented, sending the letter this way may be appropriate. Be sure there is no doubt as to the email address (you may or may not be informed that the message was undeliverable). Format your letter with all the same formalities as a regular thank-you letter. Email tends to make us a bit less formal and you do not want the note to be overly friendly. Try to keep the message to one screen length; employers appreciate brevity. Hard copy will generally be placed in a file, whereas email has a tendency to be read quickly and deleted. You may consider following up the email letter with hard copy.
A Sample Thank You Letter
Street Address or Hall
Other Address Information
City, NY ZIP
Mr./Ms. First and Last Name of Contact
Title of Interviewer
Name of School
Address of school
Anytown, NY 12870
Dear Mr./Ms. (Last Name):
Start off by thanking the representative for meeting with you at Central N.Y. Teacher Recruitment Event. Reiterate your interest and enthusiasm in working in their district. Perhaps focus in on one aspect of the conversation you had with them that would "jog" their memory about who you are (i.e. - you may have discussed team teaching or technology based educational techniques, etc.).
Discuss a bit more about their district and how impressed you are by what they are doing. You can even bring up unrelated information that may have come up (i.e. - your common interest in traveling throughout Europe)
Let them know you look forward to the next step in the recruiting process. Strongly consider setting up a "next step" with them. For example, you could inform them that you will call them within two weeks to follow up on your candidacy, etc. Thank them one last time for the consideration of your credentials and let them know you are looking forward to speaking with them soon (if appropriate).