Seven Quick Tips for Writing Thank-You Notes
Use these tips to help you write your thank-you notes.
1. Decide Whether E-mail or Regular Mail Makes More Sense
Consider the timing involved and the formality of the person and organization you're sending it to. If you need to get a letter out quickly because it has to arrive before an interview that's coming up soon, or if it's a thank-you note after an interview and you know the employer will be making a decision soon, e-mail is your best bet. Use regular mail if there's no rush and if you sense that the other person would appreciate the formality of a business letter printed on nice paper and received in the mail.
2. Use Quality Paper and Envelopes
Use good quality notepaper with matching envelopes. Most stationery stores have thank-you note cards and envelopes in a variety of styles. Select a note that is simple and professionalavoid cute graphics and sayings. A blank card or simple "Thank You" on the front will do. For a professional look, match your resume and thank-you note papers by getting them at the same time. I suggest off-white and buff colors.
3. Handwritten or Computer-Printed Is Acceptable
Traditionally, thank-you notes were handwritten, but most are computergenerated and -printed these days. If your handwriting is good, writing them is perfectly acceptable and can be a nice touch. If not, they can be word-processed.
4. Use a Formal Salutation
Don't use a first name unless you've already met the person you're writing to and he or she has asked you to use first names or you're writing to someone in a young, hip environment. Instead, use "Dear Ms. Smith" or "Ms. Smith," rather than the less formal "Dear Pam." Include the date.
5. Keep the Note Informal and Friendly
Keep your note short and friendly. Remember, the note is a thank-you for what someone else did, not a hard-sell pitch for what you want. Make sure, though, that in a thank-you note after an interview you give a subtle, gentle reminder of your skills or other qualifications that are relevant to the job. This hint lets the thank-you note serve as not only an expression of appreciation but also as a chance to get the last word on why you should be hired. The more savvy members of your competition will be doing this, so you had better do it, too.
Tip: Always send a note or e-mail after an interview, even if things did not go well. It can't hurt (unless, of course, it's full of typos).
Also, make sure your thank-you note does not sound like a form letter. Put some time and effort into it to tailor it to the recipient and the situation. As appropriate, be specific about when you will next contact the person. If you plan to meet soon, still send a note saying that you look forward to the meeting and say thank-you for the appointment. And make sure that you include something to remind the employer of who you are and how to reach you, because your name alone may not be enough to be remembered.
6. Sign It
Sign your first and last names. Avoid initials and make your signature legible (unless you're being hired for your creative talents, in which case a wacky-looking, illegible signature could be a plus!).
7. Send It Right Away
Write and send your note no later than 24 hours after you make your contact. Ideally, you should write it immediately after the contact while the details are fresh in your mind.
More Sample Thank-You Notes
Following are a few more samples of thank-you notes and letters. They cover a variety of situations and provide ideas on how to structure your own correspondence. Notice that they are all short and friendly and typically mention that the writer will follow up in the futurea key element of a successful job search campaign.
Also note that several of these candidates are following up on interviews where no specific job opening exists yet. Getting interviews before a job opening exists is a very smart thing to do. All of these examples came from David Swanson's book titled The Resume Solution (with minor adjustments to include fictitious e-mail addresses) and are used with permission.
April 22, 20XX Dear Mr. Nelson,
Thank you so much for seeing me while I was in town last week. I am grateful for your kindness, the interview, and all the information you gave me.
I will call you once again in a few weeks to see if any openings have developed in your marketing research department's planned expansion.
September 17, 20XX
Mr. Bill Kenner Sales Manager WRTV
Rochester, MN 87236 Dear Mr. Kenner:
Thank you very much for the interview and the market information you gave me yesterday. I was most impressed with the city, your station, and with everyone I met.
As you requested, I am enclosing a resume and have requested that my former manager call you on Tuesday, the 27th, at 10 a.m.
Working at WRTV with you and your team would be both interesting and exciting for me. I look forward to your reply and the possibility of helping you set new records next year.
Anne Bently 1434 River Dr. Polo, WA 99656 Pager: (545) 555-0032