Thank you notes can make or break your job search process, but you’ll stand out if you treat them as more than just a formality. Read these tips and scroll to the bottom for thank-you note examples.
Why send thank you notes?
A thank you note is not just about politeness: it’s a way to invest in your professional relationships. The best follow up notes go beyond the basic “thank you.” They have context, personal details, and authentic gratitude.
“Thank you notes used to be standard in job searching and networking, but sadly have become an often ignored step. Taking the time to send a personalized, follow up note demonstrates genuine appreciation.”Kelli Robinson, Matthews Center for Career Development, Davidson College
A simple email is enough. But, if you want to make an impression, take the time to send a handwritten note as well.
When to write a thank you note
Be sure to write a thank you note in these cases:
- Within 24 hours of an interview. If you have multiple interviewers, send each of them a separate note. If you’re working with a recruiter, you can ask them for your interviewers’ contact information.
- 1-2 days after a networking conversation (whether at a career fair, or in a one-on-one informational interview).
- Within a week of someone being a reference for you, whether or not you got hired.
- When you land a job or internship, and want to thank someone who helped you along the way, whether is was weeks or months ago.
Tip: be sure to spell the recipient’s name correctly! Even common names can be spelled in unusual ways. Triple check your spelling.
When following up on an interview: “Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration, eliminate any concerns the interviewer may have as a result of a response you gave, restate your interest/fit for the position, and offer to provide additional info they may need from you.”Joe Rosenlicht, Fowler Career Center at the George Washington University School of Business
Using thank you notes to maintain career-building relationships
You thanked your connection for doing an informational interview, but what happened next? Often, the people who help you along the way never get to hear how you applied their advice. A great way to keep in touch is to thank them when you land a job or internship. This is a chance to say, “This is how your actions made an impact on me.”
You can thank anyone who has ever helped you in the job search: a professor, a mentor, an alum you did an info chat with, a work-study boss, even a friend or family member. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed!
“You do not want to just ‘ask for something’ from an employer or alumni. You want to show an appreciation for an employer and alumni’s time and start building a genuine connection with them. Follow up with them after an initial thank you note to update them on your progress in your job or internship search. By staying connected to a contact, they may think of you for future opportunities and you will be able to stand out from other applicants.”Patrick Zajac, Hart Career Center, Illinois Wesleyan University
Thank you note examples
A thank you note doesn’t have to be long—just genuine.
The key to great notes? “Authenticity and connectivity! Reference specific conversation topics or elements, allowing the recipient to recall your conversation with them.”Kelli Robinson, Matthews Center for Career Development, Davidson College
Here are some thank you note examples to inspire you.
After an interview:
Dear Mr. Smith,
I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to me about the social media marketer role at Wayne Enterprises. I was excited to hear that you’re planning on adding TikTok to your social channels, as that is one of the projects I worked on during my internship at Acme Corporation. I’ve been thinking about content ideas since our call, and I hope I will get to share them with you.
I am happy to provide any additional information or work samples, and I look forward to hearing from you about next steps in the process.
After someone is a reference for you:
Dear Professor Lee,
I know that you recently spoke to the hiring manager at Sterling Cooper. I am so excited to let you know that I got the assistant art director job! It was thanks to your typography courses that I became interested in this career pathway. Thank you for not only inspiring me, but helping me get this role. I can’t wait to get started, and I’ll be sure to send you an update about how it’s going.
After a networking conversation:
I know how busy you are, so it meant a lot that you took the time to tell me about working at Stark Industries. It was great to talk to someone else with an engineering major, and to hear how your career path evolved after graduation. Thank you for telling me about the Stark Industries internship program – I’ll be sure to apply. I will let you know what happens!
Reconnecting after a personal milestone:
How are you doing? I haven’t reached out in a while, but I wanted to send you a note because I recently accepted a job at Wonka Industries. I can’t believe that my internship at Bertie Bott’s was two years ago! Our lunch conversations really helped me figure out my next career steps. I took your great advice to add business courses to my class load, which helped me land this role. I’d love to treat you to lunch sometime and catch up!