When is it too late to send a thank-you note?

Don’t risk sabotaging your job search by waiting too long.

When is it too late to send a thank-you note?

Know when to send a thank-you note after an interview.

You may have been told it’s never too late to send a thank-you note for a gift, but the advice is a little different when it comes to thanking a prospective employer for an interview. You need to know when to send a thank-you note after an interview or you risk looking unprofessional. And that would be, well, bad.

Send a thank-you note too soon can make you come off as too desperate or, ironically, rather thoughtless. Hiring managers want to feel special, so if you have a pre-written thank-you that you stick in their hand at the end of your interview, they'll know you didn't bother really thinking about what was said and the connection that was made. You instead scrawled a generic "thanks for seeing me" message.

On the other hand, if you wait too long to send a thank-you, hiring managers may think you either forgot about the meeting or weren't all that interested in the opportunity. That's why it's crucial to get the timing right. There's a thin line that separates too soon and too late, and you don't want to cross either.

When to send a thank-you note after an interview

“Thank you notes should be sent promptly—within 24 hours of an interview,” says Jennifer Lee Magas of Magas Media Consultants in Monroe, Connecticut. Erik Bowitz, senior resume expert at Resume Genius in Wilmington, Delaware, says thank-you notes should be sent within a week. Any later than that, and you risk looking sloppy or rude.

Choose the right format

How you choose to send the note will also affect the timing. Most experts say an email thank-you will suffice, but that a handwritten note will make you stand out. At the same time, snail mail takes longer to get to your interviewer, says New York-based career coach Angelina Darrisaw. If you’ve waited a few days, email may be a better choice to ensure you’re not forgotten.

Don't leave anyone out

While you're thinking about how and when to send a thank-you note after an interview, it’s important to keep in mind whom you send them to as well. Thank-you notes aren’t just for your interviewer. As you move through your job search, you’ll want to send thank-you notes to other people you encounter in the interview process, including friends or colleagues who have helped you in your job search, and anyone who has served as a reference, Magas says. For those who have helped you along the way, you can send a thank-you note when you know the outcome of your search.

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