Are Thank You Notes Necessary?
You may think thank you notes are a relic from the past. However, many employers and influential people disagree. This week I attended the Association for Women In Communication (AWC) Empowerment Summit where several Vice Presidents, CEO’s and other influential leaders emphasized the importance of sending a well-written thank you note.
Why should you send a note of thanks?
A Thank You Note Elevates Your Status
Since very few people take the time to write thank you notes, it is easy to rise above all others if the note is legible and well-written. Slow down and print. In the case of an interview, errors in your note could be harmful. I typically draft every note first, then write it on the card.
If you’re unsure about your grammar skills, have someone proof it or use a program like Grammarly, Slick Write or Paper Bot. If your writing is totally illegible, send an email after the interview. However, handwritten notes carry greater impact!
Most agree that it is important to write a thank you note after an interview—if you want to be considered for the job. However, there are many other occasions when a note of thanks is warranted.
Thank You Notes Aren’t Just for Interviews
Kim Leible, Assistant Vice President at USAA, believes thank you notes are important, not only for interviews but also for advice and connections. At the AWC Empowerment Summit, Kim shared, “If someone takes time to make a connection for you or give you valuable advice, you should write them a note expressing your appreciation.” This is especially true if you want to develop a meaningful relationship.
Showing gratitude for the efforts of others speaks to your character. A note of thanks could mean the difference between moving ahead in your career or not. It also shows respect for the other person. Whether you are applying for a job, asking for advice or connections, send a thank you note to each person involved. A handwritten thank you note is the perfect way to show your appreciation.
Don’t Leave Anyone Out
Sending a unique, personal note of thanks to each person with whom you interviewed or connected is essential to your career –interviewers often share these notes. A thank you note brings you to the forefront of their mind. It tells them that you are as a person who respects and appreciates them as an individual.
Case Study: A colleague at Crane Agency sent a note and a gift card to Pam, an administrative assistant, expressing their appreciation for a client referral. For Pam, the note and gift card were meaningful because she didn’t expect them.
Who can you encourage or appreciate today? Why not write them a note?
Thank You Notes Make a Difference
The thank you note could make the difference between getting the job or not. Your level of appreciation could determine the number of connections you make or the quality of advice you receive. Etiquette still counts!
As a student liaison for college fraternities and sororities, higher education professional Dr. Marissa Weaver wrote numerous reference letters for students. Some wrote thank you notes, many did not. Many of the notes she received were generic–nice but not memorable. Those who took time to talk about the specific things she did to help them or the job they landed as a result of her efforts were the ones that stood out.
Thank You Notes Must Be Specific
Being specific is important. When you take the time to write a note, make it meaningful to the reader. If you write to several people in the same company or organization, make each note unique. It is entirely possible that they will share the note with others.
Avoid saying “Thank you for everything” or “Thank you for all you do/did.” These lines could apply to anyone. As Dr. Weaver put it “they are generic.” For this reason, they are quickly forgotten. Find one particular thing and thank them for that effort or action.
Remember All Who Help You
We tend to forget the receptionist, administrative professionals, volunteers and others. However, they are people of influence who provide needed skills and services. Expressing your appreciation for their helpfulness, guidance or friendly attitude shows attention to details and a grateful spirit. And, builds valuable relationships.
What do I say?
Try something like this:
We met last week during my interview with ______.
I appreciated your friendly, helpful attitude. Thank you for your hospitality.
I hope to see you again.
If there was something specific that she/he did to help you, be sure to mention this in your note.
You could add something like, “You set the tone for my interview and put me at ease.”
Be yourself. If you are rude, thoughtless or disrespectful, the recipient won’t believe your note. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. If you find it difficult to feel grateful or express appreciation, start practicing today. Find more helpful tools here.
Case Study: Debbie, an executive assistant at a university, received a note from her boss thanking her for performing her job in an exemplary way while her husband was on active duty. The note had a profound impact on Debbie due to the sensitivity of her boss and the time he took to handwrite the note.
Take the time to write a meaningful, sincere note; this builds bridges, cultivates an atmosphere of gratitude and creates feelings of positivity in you and those you touch.
Who Can You Thank?
Who can you encourage or appreciate today?
Why not write them a note?
LaDonna Greiner is a writer, photographer, and life-long student of gratitude. Her book series, 21 Reasons to Say Thank You, offers real-life examples and suggestions to help you discover the power of gratitude and act on it. She is a Certified Facilitator for Appreciation at Work and a frequent speaker whose greatest joy is coaching others on how to live a more fulfilling life through gratitude and appreciation. You can reach her at [email protected].