Handwritten thank-you notes could be even more effective.

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Job hunting, especially in a hurting economy, is a stressful process. After you have the resume and the cover letter down, and you actually scored and aced an interview, you might think you're done. But you'd be wrong.

At this point, you shouldn't wash your hands of the process and relax, nor should you stress yourself out thinking about if you'll get the job or not. If you want to show proper business etiquette, you should take this time after the interview to send a thank-you message.

But this isn't just about politeness or strictly obeying etiquette. You'll be doing yourself a favor if you send a thank-you note. Especially if you're applying for a competitive position, a thank-you message will be another opportunity to make an impression on an employer. It'll also make you look better in comparison to someone who forgets this important step. But don't take our word for it: Virtually every job hunting guide recommends this step. And, even more important, several surveys of employers show that they prefer a thank-you note. Job Search Training Systems, Inc. found that 80 percent find it beneficial to your chances of landing the job, and CareerBuilder.com found that 15 percent would disqualify candidates who didn't send one [sources: Farr, Haefner].

And a thank-you letter, if done well, can be much more than just that. If you forget to mention something that you wanted to in the interview, or if you didn't answer a question to your satisfaction, you can use the opportunity to remedy this. At the very least, you can use the message to reiterate your excitement for the position.

If you interviewed with more than one person at a company, it's a good idea to send a separate thank-you note to each person. To keep everyone straight, ask for their business cards. After you leave, write a quick identifying note on each card that'll help you remember who's who. This will also help you spell names right.

Next, we'll talk about what to say in a thank-you letter, as well as what to do if you're turned down for the job.