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Follow-Up Communication

Thank You Letters

The job search is a blur of information exchange: e-mailed resumes, online applications, interviews via video conferences. Don’t let the fast pace fool you. Common sense and courtesy still apply, including taking the time to say thank you.

Could your thank-you letter make or break a job offer? Consider this: If your application and interview are equal to that of another candidate, the person sending the thank-you letter gets the recruiter’s attention one more time.

Like cover letters, thank-you letters are concise and personalized. The key is making a connection to the person and reiterating an idea discussed during the interview.

  • Send a thank-you e-mail or letter within 24 hours of your interview. Consider the company culture. Because recruiters travel extensively, e-mail may be the best route. A follow-up business letter sent through the post office is a nice touch.

  • Take time to take notes. Immediately following each interview, write down the information discussed while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you are meeting with multiple people, find time to note each specific conversation. When you write your thank-you note(s), use this information to remind the interviewer of an idea or discussion that came up during your interview.

  • Who receives a thank-you note? Anyone who interviews you gets a note. The notes may only vary by a sentence or two—make sure you reference specific conversations.

  • Ask each interviewer for his or her business card. You’ll walk away with important information. You’ll have the recruiter’s full name, spelled correctly, e-mail address, street address, and other contact information.

sample thank you note

Dear Ms. McVay, 

Thank you very much for speaking with me yesterday about the financial planner position currently available at MAR Financial. Our conversation confirmed my interest in this position. 

As we discussed during the interview, a successful financial planner must possess a solid understanding of the industry as well as strong communication skills to discuss options with clients. The internship I completed with NMO Bank this past summer afforded me the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge I can bring to XYZ Financial Services. The insight you provided about XYZ Financial’s focus on customer service helped me understand your company’s commitment to its clients. This is the type of company I hope to work for.

Please let me know if I can provide further information. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you. 


Ashley Ingalls

Declining a Job Offer

After considering a job offer (the job, salary, benefits, etc.) and weighing the pros and cons, you make a decision: You don’t want the job.  The reality is, not every job is right for every person. Remember the purpose of the interview: It gives the company representatives an opportunity to decide if you’re a good candidate for the job and lets you evaluate if the position and company are the right fit for you.

If you choose to reject the company’s offer, here's what to know:

  • It’s okay to say, "No, but thank you." You aren’t the first person to reject a job offer. In addition, the position is going to be filled by another candidate.

  • A rejected employer may appreciate your answer. If you know the job or company is not a good fit for you, declining the job offer is the right thing to do. Hiring an employee is expensive. Accepting a job offer you are unsure of—and then resigning a few months later—costs time and money for both you and the organization.

  • Say thank you. There must have been something that kept both you and the employer interested through at least two rounds of interviews. Be sure to thank the person offering the job for their interest in hiring you. (Note: Leave a good impression. You may want to work for that company in the future!)

  • Be professional when you tell other people. Don’t bad-mouth a company or specific person within an organization. Note: If you believe any interviewers acted inappropriately (asked illegal or uncomfortable questions), speak to someone in your campus career center. While it’s not appropriate for you to speak ill of someone in your rejection letter, you also need not let improper recruiting conduct go unaddressed.

  • Give them your decision in writing. It is imperative that you send an e-mail or letter to the person making the offer letting him or her know of your decision. In large organizations, a formal job offer letter may come from a human resources representative. In this case, send a letter to the hiring manager and forward a copy of the letter to the HR representative. As with thank-you letters, rejection letters are professional and concise.

Sample Letter

Dear Mr. Orr, 

Thank you very much for offering me the public relations assistant position with PPR Public Relations. I enjoyed meeting with you and your staff. 

After much deliberation, I regret to inform you that I will be unable to accept your offer. Please know that my decision was a difficult one, as I was impressed with the opportunity presented. 

I wish you the best in your recruiting efforts for the position. Perhaps our paths will cross in the future. 


John Stafford

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.