The all important “Thank You Note” — After the job/internship interview, a sincere note helps you shine.

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CareerBuilder recently ran a column on Thank You notes. It appeared in the August 19, 2012 Courier-Post. This blog carries many of Susan Ricker’s suggestions, plus those in “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Book” (from Chapter 15.) Both are must reads.

Susan Ricker’s article begins:  When a job interview is winding down, thanking the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you shouldn’t be your last interaction before the hiring decision is made.

You still have an opportunity to tell the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the position, that you appreciate his/her time and that you’re very interested

in being hired – and it all comes in the form of a thank-you note. It’s a tool job seekers don’t always put much thought into, but it’s one that can make a big impression on potential employers.

Why send a thank-you note?

Beyond the  sentiment of thanking the interviewer, sending a note after an interview gives you another chance to prove you’re right for the position.

“The best thank-you notes forward the discussion you started in the interview,” says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, career expert and co-founder of career-coaching firm SixFigureStart. “Personalize the note around what you specifically discussed. Reiterate the points that landed well during the interview. Add to the points where you felt you didn’t have  a clear enough example.”

How to say “thank you”

In the note, refer to your interview and highlight your interaction with the company. Remember that this is a note

from one person to another – it’s not a mechanical, automated response.

“Make it real and authentic,” says Danielle Beauparlant Moser, career strategist and co-author of “FOCUS: Creating Career & Brand Clarity.”

“A genuinely sincere thank-you for the person’s time comes through in the writing. Don’t go online looking for canned language. lf the person were standing in front of you, what would you say?”

Write a short note that expresses thanks for the interviewer’s time, highlights the best points of the interview

and confirms that you’re still interested in the job and that you look forward to hearing back from the company.

Email vs. handwritten “thank you”

As CareerBuilder says in its blog, a common question is whether you should send an email or mailed letter. Either way, you’re taking the time to follow up with the interviewer, which is a positive gesture. When deciding which format to use, consider the personality of the company and the amount of time between your interview and the hiring decision.

“If you’re email, the night of (the interview) or the next day is usually a good time,” says Elizabeth Kazda,

recruiter al biotechnology company Amyris Inc. “If you’re sending a thank-you note through the mail, remember it takes a few days, so your best bet is to mail it the night of the interview.”

Also show that you understand the company’s culture .lf you’re applying to an Internet company, a thank-you email may be most appropriate, However, if you’re being considered for a senior position at a law firm, a handwritten

note may be more suitable.

Other times to say “thank you”

lf you’re not currently looking for a job, you’re at the beginning of your career or you’re simply trying to extend

your network, sending a thank-you note after an interaction builds relationships and makes you memorable.

“In a meeting last week with a group of employers, one commented on how impressed she was to receive thank-you notes from students after a networking event,” says Lynne Sarikas, director of Northeastern University’s MBA Career Center in Boston. “Every employer in the room agreed that the notes make a very positive impression and help the students stand out from the competition.”

Thanks, but no thanks 

You may decide that the company or the position isn’t the right fit for you. Don’t be too quick to cut ties. Sending

a note can still be appropriate.

“Even if don’t want the Job, do write a thank-you note anyway,” says Corinne Gregory, author of “It’s Not

Who You Know, It’s How You Treat Them.”

“Thank the interviewer for his/her time, mention the company positively (and) compliment them on their process or mission. You never know if or when you will cross paths with either the organization or the individual again, so leave a positive last impression.

In today’s Internet age, you never really leave anybody in your professional life behind, so maintaining good relationships can lead to job opportunities in the future.

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Check out: Susan Ricker — and her blog: