Thank-You Letters That Win Job Offers

By Wendy S. Enelow

Twenty-five years ago, a resume was just a formality. As the employment market expanded and diversified, so did resumes. Today, resumes are powerful marketing tools designed to sell your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments and give you a competitive distinction over other candidates.

Powerful thank-you letters should integrate the same concepts as powerful resumes — sales and competitive distinction. Thank-you letters are your second-tier marketing communications. Your first-tier marketing communications (resume and cover letter) get you in the door for an interview. After the interview, the savvy job seeker sends a letter that thanks the hiring manager, and further expresses interest in the position.

Post-interview is no time to stop selling — it’s precisely the right time to continue selling your unique skills, qualifications, accomplishments and credentials.

The most effective thank-you letters sell you into a position. Try some of these tips to write thank-you notes that bring you offers.

  • Relate your experience directly to the hiring company’s current challenges. Is the company in the midst of a turnaround? Share your past experiences in change management, reorganization and company revitalization. Highlight the things you’ve accomplished to facilitate successful turnarounds and improve financial performance.
  • Highlight how you successfully solved the major problem they’re facing in a previous role. Imagine the company has to compete in a marketplace they once owned You’d do well with a thank-you letter that shares your past achievements in strengthening market position, expanding customer bases and outperforming the competition.
  • Respond to any objections they communicated about offering you the position. Let’s say that they were concerned that you had never worked in Los Angeles, and don’t have any professional contacts in the area. Use the thank-you letter to demonstrate that you previously entered new markets and immediately developed strong networks.
  • Tell them the one great thing about you that you forgot to mention in the interview. The thank-you letter is precisely the tool to communicate your key achievements, experiences, project highlights and qualifications. Give the hiring committee the ammo they need to make the right hiring decision — you.
  • Sell you! Highlight your specific accomplishments as they relate directly to the company and the position for which you’re applying. If those items were already discussed during the interview, that’s ok. Use the thank-you letter to further expand on them and link them directly to the hiring company’s operations, current needs and future goals.

Using a thank-you letter as a marketing tool can make it longer than one page. That’s fine. The only thing that should dictate its length is the amount of valuable information you want to include. If the company has already extended you the opportunity for an interview, they’re interested and will carefully read any material you forward to them.

Your powerful thank-you letter is your chance to move their interest into a decision to hire!