how to write a thank you note after a residency interview

How To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

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Med students are expected to write a thank you note after a residency interview as a courtesy. Although it doesn’t do much for your application, it is good to honor the opportunity and the person who conducted the interview. 

If you are not yet sure how to write one, keep reading because we will tackle everything there is you need to know about this thank you note. 

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What Is A Residency Interview Thank You Letter?

A thank you letter is a simple note that you give to the interviewing committee that can be a sign of appreciation for your potential future peers and mentors. 

Institutions do not necessarily require thank you notes for all students, but doing so can show your determination for the position. Some panelists also appreciate such small gestures because they, too, are putting effort into the whole application process.

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Why Write A Thank You Note?

Imagine that it is already your residency interview, and you are nervous. You want to be unforgettable, and you know that leaving a good impression is important.

Of course, performing well in the actual interview should be your priority. However, your work here is not done yet, and there are things that you can still do after it, like sending the committee a thank you note. This will guarantee an unforgettable impression.

Suppose you are among the people wondering why thank you letters are such a big deal after a residency interview. It doesn’t do much, but it sends more messages than you think.

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Taking the time to appreciate the interview committee can show that you cherish the opportunity. The letter’s receiver can think of you as a compassionate and determined individual, making you stand out from the rest

The competition in medical school is tough, and you must do everything to achieve your goal or — in this case — secure a spot in your preferred residency program. Finding a great program is an investment in your career.

Other than that, these are the other things writing a thank you note after a residency interview does:

ow To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

Courtesy And Respect

Writing a thank you note as an act of respect and courtesy is a given fact, but you might be surprised by the power it holds. We are so accustomed to the impolite world that we fail to appreciate the efforts, time, and actions other people give.

A note is a good way of saying that you appreciate your interviewer for the time they have given you. You can also mention that you are thankful for their efforts in getting to know you and what you have to offer their institution.

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Re-stating Your Points

There is no certain structure for a thank you note, so you can put anything on it, including re-stating your points from the finished interview. If you were not able to emphasize a skill or an experience you had with an impressive employer, you could do it in the letter.

You can state your key points on the second part of the note, next to the first paragraph, where you express your gratitude. You can also clarify the details which felt weak during the interview.

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Indicating Details You Forgot To Mention

Due to pressure, there are some important details that you may forget to state when you are in the current situation. Fortunately, you can cleverly mention it in your thank you letter afterward. 

Demonstrating Written Communication Skills

A thank you letter is also a great way of showing how well you present yourself on paper. Writing skills is an important factor to consider, as you will need them in practice for research or relaying health messages to your patients.  

Showing Your Interest

The simplest message, a thank you note, implies how enthusiastic you are about a particular program. The fact that you went out of your way to send a letter shows how much you want to be a part of their institution and community.

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ow To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

How To Write A Residency Interview Thank You Note

There are two ways to write your thank you note: through email or by post. Both are acceptable and don’t take away the essence of the letter.

If you think the decision will come shortly after the interview, your best option is through email. It is faster and opens the possibility of receiving a reply. The only downside it has is the risk of it getting lost as a spam message depending on how many similar emails the person receives every day. 

If there is time, then a handwritten note will be better. It feels more sincere and shows that you truly care. Just be sure that your handwriting is easy to read, and do not use slang and jargon to make it look formal.

In the next part, let’s discuss what you should and should not include in your thank you note.

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Things To Include On Your Thank You Note

When you are writing a thank-you letter, be sure that it will not exceed two paragraphs. Longer letters tend to get ignored more than short ones.

Only mention the interview highlights and other things you might find important, but only briefly. Thank the interview committee and reaffirm that you look forward to seeing them again.

In addition to that, these are other topics that you may include in your note:

  • The date of the interview
  • The important people you met during the interview
  • Emphasize your interest in the program
  • Topics discussed during the interview that interest you
  • Positive experiences on that day
  • How you may be a good asset to the program
  • Ask questions about the program
  • Ask questions about the interviewer, like their specialty (but not too personal)

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Things To Avoid Saying In Your Residency Interview Thank You Letter

There are some things that you should also avoid when writing your letter, in case it rubs your interviewers in an inappropriate manner. It includes the following statements:

  • Negative comments about the program or the interview
  • Benefits of the program like paid leaves, fewer working hours, and more
  • Making complaints
  • Talking about ranking

As much as possible, make your letter as warm as you can. The letter should only include positive regards and statements to avoid turning off your potential mentors.

How To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

Thank You Note Templates

Are you ready to compose your thank you letter? You can use the following templates below or refer to them while creating your letter structure.

Template #1

Hello, Dr. [NAME OF THE PANELIST],

Thank you for the interview opportunity at [PROGRAM NAME]. From what I learned from the resident social event yesterday to this day’s presentations, I am impressed by the things [PROGRAM NAME] offers. I find [Program details, specifics] interesting and will definitely consider that when viewing other programs this season. I am particularly interested in ____________, and I can see myself growing as a professional here.  

I appreciate your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

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Template #2

Good day, Dr. [NAME OF THE PANELIST],

It was lovely meeting you last [INTERVIEW DAY]. I am excited about the opportunities for _________ in your program. _______ is a skill I am extremely driven to acquire in my time as a medical student. I would also like to devote my time to residency training to develop and enhance it. 

I have some questions about [PROGRAM NAME] as well:

  • [Your questions]

It would be delightful to hear back from you. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I wish you the best for the whole season. 

All the best,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

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Template #3

Dear [PROGRAM DIRECTOR],

Thank you for the opportunity to interview with [PROGRAM NAME] on [PROGRAM DATE]. Since our meeting, I have already completed my interview procedure. I want to thank you for your time and express my profound interest in your program.

[PROGRAM NAME] has all the elements of an exceptional residency—a [describe the program’s strengths].

After my interview with you and the faculty, I was able to take an in-depth view of what your program has to offer. I am passionate about joining [PROGRAM NAME]. [You may also include other things that show your interest in the program].

I hope that you consider me for a residency position. I believe that I can become a successful and motivated member of your program and that it will mold me to become an excellent professional for my future career. 

If you may be in need of any of my additional information, you can let me know. Again, thank you for the invitation. 

Sincerely, 

[YOUR NAME]

How To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

Tips For Writing A Thank You Note

If you choose to write your thank you note, some tips may help you create an effective one.

Check The Format

We have already tackled that there are two ways you can send your letter, but some organizations may prefer one over the other, like a traditional handwritten letter. When you are researching a program, it would be best to find out the format of the letter they prefer for thank you notes.

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Send The Letter Right Away

Sending the letter as soon as possible after your interview allows the interviewing committee to remember how strong you are as a candidate for their program. The quickest way to do this is by sending an email.

However, you can still follow up with a letter later if you want to make sure that you leave a mark on their minds but be sure you don’t sound too desperate

Keep The Letter Short

Do not write a thank you letter longer than a page. You can relay your sincerity while still being brief and straight to the point. You don’t want to bore the receiver by writing a long note.

How To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

Sell Yourself

You are already writing a letter, so you might as well say all the good things about yourself in it! You can mention how you can be a great addition to their program or remind them of the strongest points you said during the interview.

You can still make a great impression at this point. However, you should also know what is okay and what is too much.

Make sure you don’t sound too desperate or needy for the spot. Mention your skills and experiences that will make you unforgettable.

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Proofread Before Sending Out

Good written communication skills also say a lot about you. As much as possible, be sure that there are no typographical errors on your note.

You’d also like to make it look polished and professional

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Who To Send It To

Your thank you letters should be addressed to every important person you met during your interview. This includes the administrators, program directors, interviewing committee, and residents that were a part of the process. 

You can generalize the gratitude by saying, “I would like to thank all of the faculty members who took the time to get to know me during the interview,” or anything similar to that. 

You can also ask the administrators for their contact information, including all email addresses of the interview panel. If this is not possible, you can tell the program administrator to forward your email to the interviewers instead.

You can begin by writing this to the program administrator:

Dear [Program Administrator],

I enjoyed my discussion with Dr. [Name of the panelist] on the day of my residency interview. I would be grateful if you could please forward this email to them as an appreciation of the time they took to interview me.”

How To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview

When To Send The Thank You Letter

Even if you think you did great at your interview, you need to consider that other candidates might do just as well as you did. Never settle for that one opportunity and take the time to make sure that they do not forget about you.

It would be best to send the letter within 48 hours after your interview, especially if it is a handwritten letter. You can expect it to arrive in at least a week.

It is the same with email. Make sure to send one no longer than a week after the interview date.

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That is all you need to know about constructing your thank you letter! A good impression will take you to your goals. 

As a medical student, it is your responsibility to seek the best for yourself. Sending an impressive thank you letter is a great advantage in getting admitted to your dream residency program. 

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