Experts POol

How to Advance Your Career: Write A Thank-You Note

If you’re looking to get a leg up on the competition, take time to write a good thank you note. 

According to the executive managing editor of Business Insider Inc., Jessica Lebman, “I’ve been hiring people for 10 years, and I still swear by a simple rule: If someone doesn’t send a thank-you email, don’t hire them.”  Read more.

A thank-you note can make a big difference in hiring decisions because it:

  • Makes you stand out from other job seekers.
  • Makes the interviewer feel valued.
  • Shows your interest in the position and organization.
  • Even if you decide you don’t want the job, a note leaves a good impression...there’s always a chance you’ll reconnect with the interviewer about a future opportunity.

Thank-you notes can also help advance your career in other ways.  I advise my executive coaching clients to send follow-up notes whenever someone has provided career assistance, such resume advice, a job referral or a networking introduction.  When people don’t get a thank-you note, they may feel their time was wasted and are less likely to help you in the future.

When you’ve landed a new opportunity, remember to thank those who helped you along the way…not only does it make them feel good about their efforts, but it helps to build your network.

What’s Best: Email or Handwritten?

Based on my experience, whether to send an email or handwritten note depends on the situation.  Here are some advantages of both:


  • Immediacy
  • Greater chance of getting a response
  • Allows you to revise more easily and SPELLCHECK!

Handwritten (if the follow up isn’t time sensitive)

  • It stands out from the deluge of daily emails. 
  • It’s more personal.

What to say…some examples

  • Mention something the interviewer said that stood out: Show you listened and care about their questions or insights.
  • Reiterate or elaborate on a key point about yourself that demonstrates your qualifications for the job.
  • Note your eagerness to hear about next steps.

A thank-you note can possibly tip the balance in your favor. One of my coaching clients, Dr. Amy, recently had an especially difficult interview, making her feel she had blown it.  Nonetheless, the next day, Dr. Amy sent a thank-you email with a thoughtful answer to the interviewer’s toughest her surprise, he immediately replied with a very positive response.

Monica OliverMonica Oliver, Sp '81, is a leadership consultant and certified executive coach at Monica Oliver Consulting in Bernardsville, N.J. She also serves on the Marquette University Alumni Association Board of Directors and the MUAA Mentor Program. She can be reached at



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