The first words a southern child learns are “thank you.” The South promotes the idea of hospitality and kindness, and maybe those southern mommas knew a thing or two about the importance of a thank you letter.
In today’s busy world, we may forget the importance of a professional thank you letter. Thank you notes are not a thing of the past only sent after all of that graduation dough comes in. Instead, thank you letters are a way to show appreciation and better yet, a way to make a good impression.
There are three things to note when you are debating sending thank you notes:
1. When should you send a thank you note?
There is never a wrong time to send a thank you note. You can’t go wrong with sending a handwritten note to all of those who interview you for a potential job. Sending thank you notes, even if you did not get the position, shows that you are responsible and also that you appreciate the time they took to interview you.
Another ideal time to send a note is when you get professional help or advice from someone. If someone helps you out professionally, send a note thanking him or her for the advice. Mention something specific that you learned from them to show you were listening.
Again, there is no bad time to send a thank you note, but always send it in a timely manner. It is best to put it in the mail the same day as your interview or conversation with a professional.
2. What form of thank you notes should you use?
You can never go wrong with a handwritten, simple note. A handwritten note is personal and makes you, a possible job applicant or employee, stand out. According to George Washington University, less than 10 percent of job applicants send a thank you note after being interviewed. Those who send a handwritten note timely after the interview are more likely to get the position.
Hand written notes should be on simple and clean stationary. No crazy designs or colors. Use blue ink so your letter looks more authentic. Write neatly and concisely.
In today’s high tech world, an emailed thank you note may seem like the best way to go. According to the George Washington University, this is not the case. Since most people get over 100 emails a day, your email may not get read or may get deleted too soon. If you have the mailing address of the person you corresponded with, send them a personal, hand written note for the best results.
3. What should you say?
According to John Muscarello of Ragan Training, you should always start off with showing your appreciation. Let the note receiver know that you are thankful for their willingness to take time out of their schedule to talk to you, whether that time was used for an interview or to get professional advice. Note something you learned during your conversation. If they gave you advice, let them know what the results were when you used it. If someone knows you used their professional advice, they will be 10 times more likely to give you additional advice. Always end your note with saying thank you and include your signature.
Remember, thank you notes are not a thing of the past. Instead they give young professionals a chance to show appreciation and stand out among the crowd. Don’t try to sell yourself and instead show true appreciation to the person you are writing. Follow in the steps of those southern mommas: use your manners and always make a statement by sending well written and timely thank you notes.