It’s a long-lost art, the thank you note. I regret its passing even as I acknowledge that I’m not particularly good at writing them myself, despite my best-laid plans at Christmas and birthdays. Particularly in the age of email — even though I love getting mail that doesn’t have a bill or request for me to otherwise spend money attached, I’m far more likely to fire off a thank-you email than a note, if I send one at all.
If you’re like me, it’s time to smarten up, particularly if you’re on the hunt for a job. Because a well-written thank you note could be your key to job-finding success.
Thank-you notes don’t need to be long or effusive, no need to be obsequious or ingratiating, or to use $10 words when a 50-cent word will do.
There are a few key reasons to send a thank-you note: First of all, to say thank you. Some busy people thought enough of you to invite you to come in and talk to them. Secondly, you want to remind them why they did that, hit the high points of why you’re perfect for the job. Maybe add a thought that came up after the interview — but be brief, you don’t want to look like twit. Keep it short and simple, error-free and polite. It’s a courtesy, but it’s also a sign of character that you’re aware of the requirements of etiquette and can fulfil them.
An email thank-you letter is sufficient, but if there’s time, you may want to send a short letter (avoid flowery thank-you cards, send those to your grandmother). There are a number of websites, including this one, where you can find samples if you’re looking for a little guidance.
And remember, you can always practice your thank-you note technique by formally recognizing people who give you gifts at various times during the year. Can’t hurt.