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May 22 2014
Thank You Notes -- A Dying Art?

Oh, I sure hope not.  From an early age I was taught the importance of writing thank you cards, especially after a big celebration where a gift is given (birthday, graduation, showers, etc.).  I’ve been in situations where I’ve spent the time to shop for a gift, attended the event, and given the gift… and did not receive a thank you note following the event.  It is a huge pet peeve of mine.  It can make the giver feel as though they didn’t give a good gift.  Or, worse yet, that it wasn’t appreciated. 

In the business world it is even more important to take the time and give thanks.  It can also make or break careers.  Here are a few suggestions to avoid mishaps and help you progress forward.

Job Interviewing
If you are job searching and in the process of interviewing, be sure to send thank you notes.  If they are deciding between two candidates that have very similar backgrounds/qualifications and only one sends a thank you note – guess who gets the offer?  It’s the person who went the extra mile and sent the thank you.

Should I send it in the mail or e-mail it?
Personally I would suggest a typed letter that is sent in the mail.  However,  decisions today about candidates could potentially be made within 24-48 hours.  At the end of the interview, ask how quickly they’ll be making the decision.  This will help you determine whether to send the thank you in the mail or via e-mail.  If it’s a quick turnaround, be sure to send the e-mail the same day.

How do I handle situations with multiple interviewers?
Send separate notes to everyone you interviewed with.  To avoid offending interviewers by misspelling their name, ask for business cards after the interview is completed.  Business cards usually list e-mail, mailing address, and phone numbers.  The extra bonus is that the cards will help you when sending the note and if you need to follow up with interviewers!  (If in the rare case they don’t have a business card, check LinkedIn.)

Here’s the key:  Send a note, even if it is a job you’re really not interested in.  Keep in mind that everyone is a connection.  You never know who they know.  They could refer you to someone in their network that would be a better fit.  The best thing to do is create a separate letter for these circumstances. 

On the Job
So you got the job, now how do you stand out from the crowd?  Keep up with sending occasional thank you cards.  Any of my co-workers will tell you that at some point they probably have received a handwritten note from me.  If it’s an extra special situation, they will get a piece of candy with the envelope!

In what situations should they be sent?
There are several…  People that volunteered and worked at an event, someone who went above and beyond the expected, helped you on a project, etc.

Should I send an e-mail or a handwritten note?
E-mails are so easy and quick.  However, I still prefer handwritten in all situations.  Handwritten notes are much more memorable.  Keep a supply of blank cards in your drawer so they are available at a moment’s notice.

Everyone is busy these days.  It is important to show that you value their support!  It will make them smile and feel extra special.  Plus, you make them realize that you don’t take them for granted.

What was the most memorable thank you note you received?


2 Comments so far | Skip to comment form

Jennifer May 28, 2014 at 08:32 am

I have to agree that a hand written thank you card will make a huge impression on the person on the receiving end. I can't say that I ever got a thank you card after an interview. However, I did get one after a former employee of mine moved on. That was about 7 years ago and I still have it. If she were to track me down now I would give her a greatl reference.

Lauren May 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

Great advice, Jessica! I completely agree that thank you cards go a long way!

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