If you’re looking for a new career opportunity, you’ve likely been doing a lot of writing lately. You’re writing resumes, you’re writing cover letters and you’re likely writing a lot of emails that include attachments of the aforementioned pieces of work. There is, however, one more piece of written work you should add to your repertoire during your job search: thank you notes.

Writing a thank you note can mean the difference between getting the job and missing out on the opportunity. This is not to say that employers base their hiring decisions on thank you notes. We’re simply saying that your display of appreciation can help to set you apart from other candidates.

Only a quarter of applicants send thank you notes after interviews.

According to an Accountemps survey, only 24 percent of HR managers report receiving thank you notes from applicants. Therefore, your first advantage in sending one is the knowledge you are in the minority of people who will choose to do so. Your note is quite likely to place you in higher regard than three-quarters of the applicants vying for the same job.

The same survey concluded as much. 58 percent of human resources managers found receiving thank you messages after interviews were somewhat helpful. 22 percent said it was very helpful. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of HR managers found thank you notes to be not very helpful. Just 8 percent said they were not helpful at all.

A thank you note offers an interviewer more insight about your personality.

Company culture counts for a lot. Savvy recruiters never underestimate the importance of being able to puzzle together a workforce made up of individuals who genuinely like working with each other. Your thank you note can unveil a number of personality traits. It shows you’re courteous, respectful and humble. It also demonstrates your appreciation of other people’s time.

“A brief, well-written thank-you note tells the interviewer that you acknowledge and appreciate the time and effort they took from their busy day to spend it with you,” says Randstad.ca, “It confirms the positive impression you made and, if well written, says you paid attention to detail and were present and thoughtful during and after your interview. It’s a small effort that tells a prospective employer that you go the extra mile.”

What should you say in your thank you note?

Firstly, it’s important to customize your note to its recipient. Be sure to make specific reference to your interview so it doesn’t read like a cut and paste job. Secondly, take the opportunity to remind your interviewer of your excitement about working for his/her company and mention why you feel you’re an ideal fit.

“Try mentioning something exciting you learned about the company that makes you want to work there, a skills shortage you now know they have that you’re uniquely poised to fill, or extra talents or experiences you didn’t get to share during the interview,” advises Kerri Anne Renzulli on CNBC.com, “Include links to projects or work samples you mentioned in the course of your conversation. Or, if you stumbled on a question during the interview, work the answer you wish you’d given into the note.”

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