5 disastrous job interview thank-you-note mistakes

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(MoneyWatch) Be careful to avoid careless mistakes in a hand-written thank-you note; spelling errors will make you look bad. So proofread your note before sealing the envelope -- twice. But some mistakes are harder to spot and may be worse than not sending a note at all. Here are five errors to avoid at all costs. (This is Part 4 of a five-part series on disastrous job interview mistakes. Please read Part 1, "Skype disasters: 4 ways to ruin an online job interview"; Part 2, "5 ways social media can cost you a great new job";and Part 3, "3 job interview mistakes Gen-Yers make.")

Sending a gift

Not only is this in poor taste, but it can be seen as a bribe, says Diane Gottsman, founder of The Protocol School of Texas. "Sending, or receiving, a big box of steaks on ice is not the right way to secure a job position."

Being generic

By avoiding specifics you'll miss an opportunity to highlight anything you wanted to add to the conversation about your candidacy, says Gottsman: "By pointing attention to something in your background that is very relevant to the position that you are applying for, it is possible to sway the interviewer's decision in your favor."

Mentioning salary

There's a time to debate salary, and that's after you've received an offer. "A follow-up thank-you note is the wrong venue to broach such a topic," says Gottsman.

Using poor penmanship

Years of typing can leave your handwriting looking a little lazy. The key? Practice. "Write or type a thank-you note out on a separate piece of paper first," suggests Jacqueline Whitmore, author of "Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals." Bonus: You'll save money by avoiding having to rip up your good stationary unnecessarily.

Sending a note to only the hiring manager

Career advisor Jenny Foss recommends sending a note to everyone you meet. And after you heed the tips above, don't blow it off: "Thank-you notes matter a ton, especially if you're running neck and neck with another person who sends one."

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