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Go ahead ... hit send

Is it OK to send a post-interview thank-you note to hiring managers via e-mail? According to a recent survey of executives, the answer is yes.

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents consider e-mailed thank-you messages appropriate, while just 22% believe e-mail notes are inappropriate.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "How appropriate is it for job candidates to send an e-mail thank-you message, rather than a written note?"

Their responses:

Very appropriate 26%

Somewhat appropriate 52%

Somewhat inappropriate 14%

Very inappropriate 8%

"Sending an e-mail immediately following a job interview demonstrates initiative, but candidates should follow up with a traditional, more formal letter," advises Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies (Hungry Minds Inc.). "Sending a personal, handwritten note offers applicants a chance to express their enthusiasm for the position and reinforce the reasons they feel they're a good match."

Writing a thank-you message can also give job seekers a leg up on the competition: In a related survey question, 86% of executives polled said they consider a post-interview thank you helpful when evaluating candidates. But only 39% of job applicants actually follow through with this simple courtesy, according to executives polled.

Messmer noted that a thank-you e-mail should be no more than one paragraph, and the letter need not be long either -- two or three paragraphs are acceptable. Both communications should express gratitude, reinforce the candidate's interest in the job, and recap his or her strongest selling points.

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