In today’s fast-paced, competitive job market, job seekers want to make the most of every opportunity to make a good impression. They are competing against others who may be just as qualified or even more so for a position. In order to secure a job, they have to stand out for all of the right reasons. While some people may think that sending a thank you note is a trend that went out of style when job searching and applications became more high tech, this is not necessarily true. There are several benefits to taking the time to write a post-interview thank you note as a follow up.

Shows your continued interest and gratitude. After leaving an interview, your impression of the job may have changed and the employer’s impression of you may have as well. A well-crafted thank you note shows that you are still interested and are appreciative of the employer taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. However, the content of your note should include much more than just a “thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.”

Reinforces your qualifications. Now that you have met with the company and learned more details about the position, you can re-emphasize specific qualifications that align with what they are looking for. Choose two or three key points surrounding your discussion that support why you are the best fit for the job. This also shows your attention to detail and focus during the interview in being able to ascertain what they are looking for and how it applies to your experience. Drive home some of your greatest strengths and remind them of what you have to offer.

Makes you memorable. An employer may interview several candidates for the same position, and then interview other candidates for a different position, all within a day or two. Combined with their regular workload, this can make it more difficult to keep everyone and their experiences straight. Sending a thank you note provides a quick recap of who you are and can make you stand out more in the employer’s mind when they are considering who to hire. Granted, this won’t change your qualifications, but it can show your professionalism, communication skills, and follow through.

Email or hard copy?

With the fast-paced nature of many businesses today, an email thank you note can be sufficient. This ensures that the employer gets it in a timely fashion prior to their decision making. While a hand-written note can seem more personalized, it can also take longer to arrive. If you want to write a note, you can always personally deliver it after your interview, although many employers find email acceptable. Try to send it within 24 hours of your interview. Too soon and it can seem like you put little effort into personalizing it, but waiting too long can make it lose some of its impact. If you are sending thank you notes to more than one person, make sure they are slightly different depending on the discussion with each person.

Make yourself stand out in a positive way by having a cohesive application package complete with a polished resume, cover letter, and thank you note.