When I was a kid, adults always talked about the horror of my peers and I no longer being taught cursive in school. Nowadays, we are lucky children are being taught to write at all. All of our communication has gone digital, whether it be texting friends, emailing coworkers, or commenting on your family’s social media. One good thing about this new digital age is that it is easy to make a great impression simply by writing a thank you note. This is an often overlooked tactic in distinguishing oneself in a job interview or to an important leader. However, many people struggle with knowing what to say or what the proper etiquette is for writing a thank you letter.
The first main thing you want to get right in a thank you note is making sure you are spelling the person’s name properly and addressing them appropriately. If you aren’t sure whether a woman is married, use Ms. to be safe.
Next, thank them for whatever they’ve done for you- spending their time interviewing you, giving you advice, helping you with something- whatever is most appropriate. Reference specific details from the conversation to highlight that you’ve been listening and value the person’s time.
Explain why what the person did for you was helpful. For example, if a professor spent time giving you career advice, explain that you are in the middle of interviewing for internships, which is why her advice was helpful. If you are thanking a recruiter for interviewing you for a job, explain that you are hoping to find the perfect position and are thankful that she was willing to spend time telling you about the company and getting to know you.
Always close your note by restating your gratitude and encouraging the person to reach out should they need anything from you. A safe option for closing is “Sincerely,” but “Regards” may be more appropriate for someone you have a more formal relationship with. Likewise, “Warm Wishes” might be more appropriate for someone you are close to. Use discernment in choosing which closing would be the best fit.
If you struggle with your handwriting, it might be best to practice on a separate piece of paper first. It can also be helpful to use a notecard to guide your writing so that your lines don’t begin to droop.
Don’t fret over the minute details of writing a thank you note- most importantly, just make sure what you say comes from the heart.