I just want to make one thing clear.
ALWAYS send a thank you note after you interview. There is never an instance when it is not appropriate.
I recall when after a round of second interviews for a summer associate position, I sent a thank you note to everyone I spoke with at the firm. When I got the position and started working, one of the partners indicated how impressed he and the other attorneys were that I was the only one to send a thank you note.
Now that we’ve clarified that, here are some do’s and don’ts for sending thank you notes.
Do send the thank you note as soon as possible. It is best to mail a handwritten thank you note on the same day or within 24 hours of the interview. That way it gets to the interviewer in a short amount of time. However, if it has been stated that they will be making a decision quickly. Send a thank-you email after the interview to ensure it is received.
Don't be long-winded. Keep it concise. Highlight one or two points discussed in the interview and reiterate your interest in the position.
If you’re only going to send a thank you not to one person, do send it to the hiring partner or the person with whom you spend the most time with.
If you’re going to send a thank you note to everyone you interviewed with, don't send the same note to every person. Vary your messages. I have heard attorneys say they compare notes with their colleagues to see if the candidate wrote the same note for every person. You instantly lose credibility that way. Don’t be that person.
Do spell check your thank you note. Keep in mind that the thank you note is representative of you and your work product. If you have typos and sloppy writing, what does that say about you as a candidate?
A thank you note can go a long way into making a last impression on an employer. Follow these do's and don'ts to make sure your lasting impression is a good one.