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Author Topic: Thank you notes  (Read 20982 times)
need guidance
Guest
« on: April 11, 2005, 6:07:13 AM »

I recently interviewed at a community college.  I would like to send notes thanking the individuals involved for their time and consideration.  Any ideas on appropriate wording?  I keep getting stuck after the first sentence.  How "personal" should they be? Should I touch upon anything from the interview? Thanks!
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Nona
Guest
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2005, 8:50:25 AM »

Hi need guidance,

I would be less rather then more personal.  My adivce is to send one, more generic e-mail to the office secretary to pass on to the members of the committee.....something like,

Dear Members of the Search Committee,
  I would like to thank each of you for the consideration shown to me during my recent interview at ____________ on ________.  From our discussion, it is clear to me that becoming a part of the ___________ community would be ideal.  
  Please let me know if you desire additional documentation such as official transcripts or a writing sample.  Once again, thank you and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Cordially,


need guidance
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ATBMNTB
Guest
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2005, 9:06:24 AM »

I like to through in something like..."Many thanks for offering me the opportunity to share my experiences and ideas with you.  I appreciate your time."  You can use some adjectives in there as well...work experiences / fresh ideas.  Let your personality shine through...nothing is to be lost.
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Doug
Guest
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2005, 9:58:41 AM »

Who has time to send or even read a slew of thank you letters from anxious job candidates? Certainly not harried interview committee members who barely remember who you are. Do they really appreciate these insipid notes?

What exactly are you thanking them for anyway? For interviewing you? Interviewing you is part of their job. They had a post to fill and you were judged qualified enough to be interviewed. In my view, a thank you note is unnecessary unless something unusual happens that might cause someone to go out of his or her way to assist you.

Iím sure there are many here who will disagree, but I am from the school of thought that says perfunctory or insincere thank you notes from desperate job candidates is waste of time and diminishes a sentiment that should be genuinely offered. If you have to take a poll on a discussion board before offering a note of thanks how sincere can your sentiments be?

Treating people with courtesy and respect during an interview is what all of us should do in a civil society; such treatment does not require a specific note of thanks.

The last thing job candidates need to do is spend time and money they do not have on mechanical thank you notes and postage.
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Dale
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2005, 10:07:33 AM »

I strongly disagree with Doug.  Thank-you notes are an established standard in higher education.  They may not be deeply read like Derrida would have wanted, but they are important reminders of the conversations you had and the people you met.

Don't listen to malcontents - send the thank-you notes and be thoughtful about what you say.
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Search Committee Member
Guest
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2005, 10:35:44 AM »


Seconding what Dale has said: if you are not at all interested in the job, don't send a thank-you note. Otherwise, the note is not only a courtesy, but also an affirmation of the fact that after visiting us, you're still interested in the position if it should be offered to you. We only see three or four people for campus interviews. We will not necessarily cease to consider someone who doesn't thank us -- but we certainly will wonder if that means the person doesn't really want to come here after all.

The wording can be perfectly automatic -- but the conclusion affirms your continued interest in the position and offers any other information or documentation we might like.
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Max
Guest
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2005, 10:41:11 AM »

What I would do is send a set of different letters to different people:

* a very personal letter to the person that hosted you for the interview and the people you spent the most time with. Stress some high points in your conversation, common interests, your ability to be a good colleague, etc. These people are likely to be your champions in the hiring meeting, you need them as much on your side as possible. This can be a bit informal, especially if you and your host hit it off. If it was an out-of-town interview, you can mention how much you liked the place, the campus, etc.

* a very formal letter to the dean and department head(s) that you met with stressing your strength and your fit with the program. Stroke their ego by talking about strength of the program or quality of students or whatever ingratiating lie you can come up with :-) (if you actually have something really good to say, say it)

* a set of quick form letters to EVERYBODY else that you met with. They most likely will be consulted (at least on a cursory level) before the search committee makes its decision - the goal of your letter is to make sure they remember you. Feel free to personalize them - but in my case I had to send about 25 of these and some of these conversations were but a blur.

The other thing is - buy some high-quality thick bond paper and print the letters on a high-quality printer. If you have personal letterhead (not university letterhead!), use that.

If you send emails, follow them up with paper letters anyway. Emails are good at provoking conversations (thus, the hiring committee members may interpret you as being an interesting colleague or will at least not forget you half-hour after you leave) - but a well-worded letter on good paper will get clipped to your file and will remind them of something when a file is opened.

[%sig%]
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Mouse
Guest
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2005, 11:09:16 AM »

I'm on a CC search committee that just finished interviews, and I have to say that I definitely took note of who sent a thank-you note and who didn't.  One thing that really stuck out to all of us on the committee was one finalist who took the time to send us each an individual thank-you note.  It doesn't have to take too long--this interviewee sent a quick e-mail to each of us on the committee, with the standard sentence or two about "Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you..." and ending with the "I'm very excited about this opportunity."  But there was a sentence or two tailored for each committee member--"good luck on your new garden" for me, "You were a great tour guide" for the committee member who showed him around town, etc.  We were a little worried that this interviewee might not want to leave the great coastal city he's in to move out to the boonies of the midwest, but his thank-you, at least, showed that he'd actually paid attention to what it would be like to work with us, not just to work here.  We're a really small CC, so that was automatically points for the interviewee as far as seeming genuinely interested, likely to be collegial, and likely to actually be interested in the students as individuals.
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engineering_abd
Guest
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2005, 11:25:24 AM »

If the staff helped you with the visit, send them a note.  I found my grad career went much smoother as a result of sending the secretary a note after my campus visit, and I can see the same thing being true as faculty....remember, if you get the job, these are you future co-workers !
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B.F.
Guest
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2005, 3:16:03 PM »

The issue of whether or not to give thank you notes has come up repeatedly on this site. I understand those who say this it can come across as insincere. But I also agree that it can be useful to let the school know that you are still interested in the job. You could compromise by having the focus of the message be on your continued interest in the job and end the message with short and brief thank you.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 1:01:39 PM by moderator » Logged
Ph.D. in "teaching" college
Guest
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2005, 3:17:36 PM »

Maybe there is a different culture in community colleges and other primarily teaching institutions.  In The R1 where I got my Ph.D., I think thank-you notes would have been viewed as a desperate measure by a desperate candidate.  But in the small liberal arts college in which I now teach, I could see them liking such a gesture.  It's a different environment in a teaching college (more  of a feel-good, hugging kind of place -- be it phony or not).

[%sig%]
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thanked
Guest
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2005, 3:38:05 PM »

As someone who has been on two search committees during the past year, I can assure you that thank-you notes (and even emails) are not only appreciated, they make a difference.  I teach at an RI university, by the way.  It doesn't matter if they are sincere or not; they are part of the game.
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new hire
Guest
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2005, 7:40:51 PM »

This is a great discussion.  I can only add that I recently found myself facing this exact question, after my very first on campus interview (after two years on the job market!) at a small public RII university.  I really fell in love with the institution during the interview and took the time to hand write personalized thank you notes on special stationary to each member of the search committee, as well as the department chair.  I also wrote personalized email messages to the people with whom I connected during the one-on-one meetings.  It turned out that the search committee members really appreciated the notes - and they offered me the job soon afterwards.  Since then, several of them have mentioned the notes to me in our communications.  I also got the impression that they discussed the notes and compared them with one another.  Based on this experience, I definitely recommend taking the time to send personalized notes, if you really want the job.  Finally, on wording -- you can always write that the campus visit strengthened your interest in the position (if this is true) and that you hope for the opportunity to continue your conversations in the future.  Then they know that you still want the job.

[%sig%]
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Annie
Guest
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2005, 9:48:51 PM »

Thanks to all for the affirmations and insight, I never know when to send a thank you note in academia.  I've been confused because at the theatre where I work, thank you notes are deposited directly in the trash and usually interpreted as insincere brown nosing. However, as someone who will soon be heading off to a campus interview (for a job I'd really like to land) I will definately send notes and no longer worry about being considered a brown noser.
On a related topic, is it appropriate to give a thank you gift to your advisor at the completion of your dissertation work? If so, any suggestions of what would be appropriate for an older male prof?
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Janice
Guest
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2005, 3:11:25 AM »

I've heard over and over again that thank you notes are a waste of time and make you look like a brown noser at my R1 institution. So the instituion matters a LOT.

Thank yous to advisors at the end of graduate school--a decent bottle of wine. Someone I knew gave candles... which ended up seeming sort of odd...
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