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Writing A Thank-You Note That Gets Noticed: Tips For Investment Banking Interview Follow-Up

Thank you note

I often receive questions from students asking me what to write to the recruiters after an interview. Many candidates feel almost obliged to send a “thank you email”, as if not doing so would eliminate them from the race… 

The truth is: “thank you emails” are not as important as people think. They will rarely make any difference. If recruiters truly like you, trust me, they will call you back, even if you don’t send any thank you notes.

If they don’t, or if they think another candidate is better than you, you will either hear a negative answer, or never hear back. Even if you send them the most beautiful, Shakespearean thank you note ever written in the history of mankind… 

So, remember this: sending thank you notes is nothing but an act of courtesy. In most cases, it won’t make any significant changes to the probability of moving on to the next round. 

There are two main purposes of a thank you note: 1) Making you feel better after an interview and getting the feeling that you did everything you could to succeed 2) occupy more mental space in the mind of the recruiter, by reminding them of your existence.

Both of these things are positive, and cannot hurt. For that reason, it’s not a bad idea to send thank you notes. I used to send them too. And I recommend you send them as well if you have time. Just don’t feel guilty if you don’t.

Thank you notes: do’s and don'ts
Does and Donts

There is an important rule of thumb to remember when you want to win at any game that involves multiple players: look at what most of your competitors are doing, and do the opposite. 

What do most candidates do when they write thank you notes?

  • They exaggerate their motivation to join the firm to absurd degrees.
  • They over-express their gratitude for the interview, saying “thank you” 17 times 
  • They use archaic language out of pressure to conform to what they heard was good, such as “should you need any further information…” (Nobody says this in real life.)

Recruiters are tired of it. Trust me. They can tolerate this BS if you’re a really good candidate, but their lives wouldn’t be worse without…

Instead, try to keep it as simple, concise, and honest as possible. Minimalism is the best strategy here. Thank them for their time, but don’t overdo it. Use normal language, not overly polite language. 

Thank you notes – don’ts:
  • Writing super-long thank you notes to express your unconditional love for the firm 
  • Expressing too much gratitude in your email, as if recruiters had saved your entire family from drowning. 
  • Using archaic language that nobody uses in real life, such as “should you need any further information from me…”
  • Spending 3 hours optimizing your email draft, thinking it will make any difference. It won’t. Use your time sparingly. 
Thank you notes – do’s:
  • Keep it short and concise
  • Use simple, clear language
  • Thank them for their time, but don’t overdo it
  • Briefly highlight a key point of the conversation that you particularly appreciated (only if it’s something genuinely interesting to you)
  • Re-express your motivation without being overly enthusiastic (true motivation is reflected in your energy during the interview, NOT in the words you say in a thank you email)
  • Say that you are at their disposal if they need more information from you.
What is a good structure to use + example of thank you note

In terms of structure, you can’t go wrong by following something along these lines.

  • Start by thanking them for their time (be clear and to the point, don’t overdo it)
  • Briefly highlight a key point of the conversation that you particularly appreciated, to show that you paid attention, and to revive their memory (only if this key point is genuinely interesting to you)
  • Re-express your motivation to join the firm, explaining in simple and honest terms why you think this job would be a good fit for you
  • Say that you are at their disposal if they need more information from you.

Example of thank you note:

“Hi John,

Thank you for receiving me in your office on Tuesday. 

I appreciated our conversation, and was glad to learn more about the biotech sector expertise of ABC Research as well as its differentiated research methodology. 

As mentioned during our meeting, I think this role would be an ideal fit for me, as it is fully in line with my long-term career ambitions to work in biotech research. I also believe that my skills in financial analysis paired with my medical background would be of value to your team, which I would be more than glad to join and contribute to.

I am at your disposal if you need more information from me.

Best regards, 


Simple. Honest. Effective. 

If you want a job in investment banking this year, check out our flagship programme here

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A word about the author

Aurelian Tran is the founder of Alpha Lane and an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst who has spent 4+ years working in the investment banking industry.

He founded Alpha Lane to help students and young professionals achieve their highest professional ambitions, by securing offers at top-tier financial institutions.