An important career and job hunting tactic is sending a thank you note after having an interview. You may wonder if you should send it by mail or email. Will one approach make a better impression?

Sending a thank you will be much easier if you obtain a business card from each interviewer. The simplest way to secure a business card is to offer your business card; most people reciprocate with their business card.

If for some reason you forget to ask for the interviewer’s contact information, do not call them to get it. Find another way to get the contact information – talk to their assistant, the company’s operator or find it on LinkedIn. If you did call them, think about the conversation – “I am calling to get your address so I can send you a thank you card.” It will be awkward. Is that the impression you want to make?

There are a few different approaches to thanking the interviewer. They are:

  1. Handwritten note or card
  2. Type written letter
  3. Email letter

Selecting the right approach will depend on a number of factors: timing, the interviewer’s and your own preferences.

The Hand-Written Thank You

Known as the most personal option, the hand written thank you note can make a lasting impression. Consider if your interviewer’s style is more formal or traditional; there is a higher likelihood they will prefer this approach.

Opt for a simply designed note card – find one with “Thank You” on the front cover. Write a clear and concise message.

One of the reasons you might hesitate to use this approach is timing. The interviewer may be making a decision in the next day and you want to express or reinforce  your interest. If you wait to send the note after you get home, it may be a few days until the interviewer receives your note.

Here are two work-around solutions. Bring several Thank You note cards and envelopes with stamps on the day of the interview. After you are done interviewing, take a few minutes to write thank you notes each interviewer. You can either leave them with the receptionist and ask the thank you cards to be hand delivered or make a local postal stop to mail them for next day delivery.

The Typed Thank You

A typed thank you letter is a twist to the hand written thank you note. Consider this option if your penmanship is illegible and you want to deliver something by traditional mail.

The letter should be brief and to the point. It will take extra time to send a typed thank you letter.

Is it acceptable to send a thank you letter after sending a thank you email? It depends. You do not want to appear desperate. Avoid rehashing the same information. If you have something new to communicate, then it may make sense.

The Email Thank You

Another alternative is to send a thank you via email. This approach will be well received by technology savvy or Eco-friendly individuals.

Do you send the email in HTML or plain text? You may think this is the time to impress the interviewer by sending an HTML thank you with lots of graphics. Some companies and individuals set their email settings to plain text only. The conversion of HTML to plain text can be messy – is that the impression you want to make?

The same advice goes for using email card sites. This is not the time to send a card that is accessed by clicking a link. When in doubt, keep it simple.

The Thank You Message

Remember, one of the most important parts of your thank you is what you say. If you struggle with what to write, use a separate piece of paper or word document and write out your message. This will allow you to make adjustments before sending it.