Thank You Notes

Writing well is not only important for research and creative assignments at Northwestern; it is something employers always seek in potential hires.  One way to show that you are a good communicator is to write an effective thank you note. This section of the UCS website is designed to help you do just that.

When to Send Thank You Notes

There are several times throughout your life when you will want to send a note of appreciation. Within your career development, internship or job search here are some suggested times:

  • To maintain your network, thank references and mentors
  • Following an in-person, online or phone interview
  • After Networking Events such as Career Fairs, Career Panels, Informational Interviews, Externships/Job Shadowing and other Alumni Events (i.e. Mock Interviewing, Speed Networking)

Thank You Etiquette

  • Be sure to ask your contact/interviewer for their business card so you know where to send the Thank You Note (for phone interviews, do not be afraid to ask for contact information)
  • Send 24-48 hours after event or interview
  • If you know that the hiring decision is being made quickly (1-3 days) email your thank you note/message
  • When possible use the most personal/formal method of composing a note- Handwritten Note or Typed Letter. (Note: if you decide to handwrite make sure your penmanship is legible)

Thank You Style

  • Do not exceed one page in length
  • Proofread your note to ensure there are no typing or grammatical errors
  • Include confirmation that you are interested in the opportunity
  • Include specifics about what you learned from the interview/experience
  • Expand on prior answers to questions or continue to sell yourself to the employer
  • Use your "resume letterhead"/ personal stationary & quality paper if mailing

Sample Thank You Note (pdf)

Additional Tips for a Successful Thank You Letter

  • Send a personalized letter to each individual within 24 hours (preferably before any hiring decisions have been made)
  • Reiterate your skills and qualifications, particularly those pertinent to the position
  • Mention a specific topic or issue that was discussed during your interview in order to refresh the interviewer's memory of you and your conversation
  • Provide any information that was overlooked during the interview or that was specifically requested by the interviewer
  • Communicate your continued interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity

Fewer than 15% of job seekers follow up with thank you letters, so don't miss this chance to get a leg up on your competition!