Thank you notes- we’ve all heard of them and may have sent out a few ourselves after receiving a gift. Well, have you ever wondered why you do so? Is it because you are grateful and want to express your gratitude to the gift giver? It is because it’s what everyone else does or because your parents say you should?
Although thank you notes can take different forms and the general motive is to express gratitude, there are still so many benefits to using them.
Well, believe it or not, thank you notes are used on many occasions other than receiving gifts. These notes of appreciation can also be used in professional settings, and should be used whenever possible!
This is not just a formality, it’s an opportunity to convey thoughtfulness and sometimes it can be a game-changer in creating an excellent impression!
When to Send Thank You Notes
Whether you make new connections at a networking event or someone helps you network through a mutual connection, it is very important to follow up with a thank you note. If it was after a networking event, like a career fair, you can simply thank them for taking time out of their day to talk to you and express how grateful you are for the conversation. If you want to add more, you can also reiterate your passion to work in their industry, at their company, or for them.
If someone has helped you network or an office has been resourceful in meeting your needs, for instance, if you receive assistance from the Office of Career and Professional Development, it’s always nice to write a thank you note afterward. They may feel happy to have been able to help you and will most likely be happy to help you again in the future. It also means a lot to just thank them for their time!
Reminder: Sending a thank you note after an interview is a great way to get noticed, which is just one of the many benefits of doing so!
After an interview
After you have had an interview with a recruiter and/or hiring manager, it is always a good idea to write a Thank You note expressing your appreciation for their time and for considering you for the position. After an interview, your thank you note can be just a follow-up note or include some additional information such as a topic brought up in the interview or something that you and the recruiter connected over during the interview.
10 Things to Keep in Mind When Sending Thank You Notes
1. Send within 24-48 hours
Try to send your Thank You note within 24 hours. Obviously, if you are sending a handwritten note, it may take a few days to get to the recipient, but the faster you send it, the sooner they will receive it!
If you write a handwritten note but are nervous that it may take too long to get to the recipient, you can always handwrite the note and scan it on a printer scanner and email that image to them. This still shows the personalization of a handwritten note and shows you have put in the effort to handwrite your note, but it can get to them faster in this digital world.
You can also mail the handwritten letter in addition to emailing a thank you note so that it gets to them faster!
2. Keep it short
Although your note should contain a decent amount of information, remember that it is a note. You should not be writing an essay in your thank you note. Try to summarize as much as you can while being specific. This may take a few tries, but eventually, you will get the hang of what and what not to include in your note.
3. Handwrite, if possible
As I have previously mentioned, try to handwrite your note. This just makes it very personal and doesn’t come off as if you’re sending the same note to multiple people. If you do not have access to a pen and paper and need to send the note quickly, you can always write an email or LinkedIn message to the recruiter/hiring manager.
4. Research on company culture
Although sending thank you notes are beneficial in the eyes of most people, it is still important to do research on the company and their culture. Try to understand what is traditionally accepted and expected within the company regarding professional notes. If they use a more casual tone, try to match that. If they have a very strict professional culture, make sure to write in a formal tone as if you already work for the company.
One way you can find out what is acceptable within the culture is by conducting informational interviews. For more information on what an informal interview is and what to do in one, read our latest blog All You Need to Know About Informational Interviews!
5. Professional Tone
Even if the company has a more relaxed and casual culture and tone, try to remain professional with your tone. You can build a good tone by paying attention to the words and phrases that you use and the kind of positive emotions your language evokes. It is important to remember that you are still writing a professional note and you want to remain professional, especially if there’s a job on the line.
If you need help knowing if your note comes off as unprofessional or not, you can always ask a professional or connection you know in the industry to look over your message for you before sending it. If you do so, don’t forget to let them know what the company’s culture is like, too!
6. Address the recipient appropriately
Whenever you are writing a cover letter, thank you note, or professional letter, it is always important that you address the recipient appropriately. This means using the correct title for the person (e.g. Mr., Miss, Mrs., Dr.) and the right spelling of their names.
You can check to see if they have their tit on their LinkedIn profile or in a recent email they may have sent you! If you are unsure, just remember to address it to First Name, Last Name and remain professional and respectful whenever you are addressing them.
7. Reiterate points made in the interview
Although you want your thank you note to be decently short, try to summarize what was talked about in the interview to remind them of your conversation. Recruiters often encounter multiple candidates and professionals are constantly engaging with new people. It is important to customize it as much as you can. You can do so by bringing up special topics that were unique to your conversation, which can strengthen the connection you made with the interviewer. This will also help you stand out from the crowd or applicant pool because it reminds the interviewer of the distinct conversation they had with you. Also, this will not only show that you were paying attention during your time together but also confirms that you understood important points.
Reminder! Proofreading ensures your note is completely free of errors. A well-written Thank You note shows attention to detail and shows off your communication skills!
Just like any message you write to a professional, remember to proofread, proofread, proofread!! You don’t want to send the message and later realize that you didn’t spell something correctly or didn’t check your grammar. If you are about to send your message and still nervous, you can always use the free Grammarly Premium software that all Chapman students have access to or ask someone you know to double-check!
9. Be respectful and courteous
This may be straightforward for many people, but just remember to be respectful and courteous throughout your letter. For example, capitalization is often thought of as “yelling” and you don’t want to convey that. Remember the standard etiquette of greetings (Dear, Hello, etc.) and closings (Thank you, Regards, Respectfully, Best, etc.) Again, if you are unsure, ask someone you know to double-check for you!
10. Be thankful
The main message that should be in your Thank You note is that you are thankful and grateful that they have taken the time to consider you and interview you. No matter what you include in your note, make sure you have a few statements that express your gratitude.
Benefits of Sending Thank You Notes
Makes you stand out
The biggest benefit of sending a thank you is that you will likely stand out from the crowd. The recruiter or hiring manager is probably looking at many resumes and interviewing many people in addition to yourself, and this can make it hard to stand out. If you wish to go the extra mile and reinforce your interest in the job, sending a thank you note is one way to do so.
Sending a Thank You note shows that you are invested and continue to put in the work, even after you have gotten an interview. This will show the recruiter and hiring manager that you are very serious about this position and may even be the final factor that influences them to choose you!
Demonstrates written communication skills
Writing a thank you note is a great way to showcase your written communication skills which is very important now that a majority of work has moved online. If they hadn’t gotten to see your written communication skills through a cover letter or creative project, this is an amazing opportunity to showcase that skill.
You should especially do so if it is a major skill wanted/needed for the job!
A chance to include relevant information not mentioned in the interview
If you forgot to say something important about yourself during the interview, now’s the time! You can restate how your skills and experience are directly tied to the hiring manager’s needs. This positions you as a suitable candidate for the role and also emphasizes your interest in the job.
Hear from our Alumni on why Thank You Notes Matter!
Still not convinced? Let some of our alumni panthers share why they think thank you notes matter:
“Thank you notes are the most underestimated and underutilized tool when it comes to job hunting & interviewing. Writing a thank you note – or even sending an email – leaves a phenomenal impression, and shows the hiring team that you are grateful for their time and respectful in your approach; two elements that are not always so effectively expressed in words. I’ve known people who also use thank you notes as an opportunity to reinforce their personal brand by putting their logo, font, and color scheme on them. Use thank you notes as an opportunity to express your creative side as well!”
Aaron Vilaubi, B.S. Business Administration, Marketing, M.A. Leadership Development. Manager, Employer Relations, Chapman University
“An act of expressing your appreciation through a few words, a thank you note, is an important way to show your gratitude for someone and their time. While an email might be an excellent start for an instant thanks, I highly encourage a follow-up handwritten note as it is something fewer do, and those receiving it will not forget.“
Victoria Pazmany, B.A. Strategic & Corporate Communication, Organizational Leadership Studies Minor. Founder/CEO, Belle Events & Co
“Thank you notes are really important for strengthening connections with potential employers. In fact, this helped me get an internship with Congressman Lou Correa a few years ago. His senior field representative came to an event I was at, we spoke a lot, and then she gave me her contact information at the end of the event. I then followed up after the event and thanked her for speaking to me and expressed my interest in interning with Congressman Correa. Long story short, I got the internship! Taking that extra step can help you stand out in an employer’s eyes, so I would highly recommend doing it.”
Alex Ballard, B.A. Political Science, B.A. Economics, B.A. History.
J.D. Candidate, University of Nevada – Las Vegas
“ Although you may feel like the interaction itself was memorable for the client, a thank you note is a way to remind others of your interest and kindness that can potentially snowball into more conversation down the line. I personally love to recall something funny or unique said during my connection with a professional…
“Thank you notes are essential to networking. Think of them as the gateway to more conversations in the future.”
During a call I had with a certain professional, we both expressed our love for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. Being able to discuss this very specific thing with each other made the rest of our call incredibly easy. When reaching out with a thank you note the next day, I made sure to write how I was looking forward to hearing their review of the certain haunted mazes that were speculated for the upcoming Halloween season.
If you find yourself not able to find something you have in common with the professional during the interview, make sure to point out one of their answers they spoke of. If you asked the professional, “What is a quality or skill one should possess in order to be successful in your role?”, take note of their answers and mention how much that specific advice helped you. For example, “I really appreciated your wonderful advice throughout the interview, especially when you stated that being proficient in public speaking will help one succeed in your role. I will be sure to sharpen those particular skills to be prepared in future positions!”
Amanda, B.A. Strategic & Corporate Communication, Entrepreneurship Minor.
Jr. Strategist, Trailer Park Group
Sample of Thank You Note After an Interview
Hi [insert name],
Thank you for meeting with me recently. It was a pleasure to get to talk with you and learn more about the role. I am so excited about the opportunity to work with [insert company name] and [insert something you bring to the table that was talked about during the interview].
I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process!