Growing up, in the ancient days before email and texting and Instagramming, my mother always stressed the importance of a hand-written thank you note. You received a gift, write a note. Your friend’s family took you out to dinner, write a note. She noted that taking 10 minutes out of your day to thank someone for their kindness is your way of making someone else feel good, feel appreciated, feel like their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. She reminded us that it was nice to open up a mailbox to something other than bills and advertisements.
Nowadays, hand-written thank you notes, cards of any kind, are infrequently sent. With online methods of communication dominating the way we speak to one another, the best we can typically anticipate is a grammatically correct thank you email. But no matter how you choose to show your appreciation, there are many reasons to do so.
Here are our top 4 reasons why you should send someone a thank you note – for a job interview, for a college visit, for any reason.
- Kindness. Well, this is an obvious one. Saying “thank you,” acknowledging anyone for any reason is a gracious gesture. Writing a thank you note sets the tone for all future interactions, as it indicates that you are going to treat others with courtesy and respect.
- Personal Branding. Whether you’re thanking a teacher for extra help or guidance, thanking an admissions officer or alum for discussing a particular college with you, or sending a thank you note to a potential employer, that gesture brands you. What you say in that note is your chance to promote your brand and to stand out. Not only is it an opportunity for grace, but a well-written (or typed, if necessary) thank you note allows you to brand yourself, to create an identity for yourself as an individual. It puts you in control of your message and helps you to better understand yourself.
- Networking. Following up a meeting, an interaction, an interview with a thank you note leaves the door open for further contact and conversation with the recipient. You might not be right for the job for which you just interviewed, but the interviewer might remember your thoughtfulness when another job comes up. When your application is reviewed, the admissions officer might recall that you went out of your way to engage graciously and meaningfully, showing your interest in the school and following up in a mature manner. You might be borderline for your grade in a class, but your teacher might give you the “benefit” of extra points for your courteous, interactive behavior and demonstrated effort. Plus, writing a thank you note gives you the opportunity to state, not only that you are grateful for someone’s time and help, but also that you want to stay in touch. You can follow up your thank you note by scheduling another meeting or by connecting on LinkedIn, which can create additional networking opportunities.
- Additional Information. Sending a thank you note gives you the opportunity to control your narrative. You can add in additional information that you didn’t have the time to discuss during your meeting. You can remind the recipient of your strengths, your questions, your interest in the subject matter, college, job….You can explain something you said, restate your understanding of a situation, or elaborate on a topic, all while demonstrating that you appreciate someone else taking the time to speak with you.
Ultimately, there is no downside to writing a well thought out, cordial thank you note. It should become part of your process, your everyday response to kind gestures and others’ efforts. If you are struggling to get the right words out, contact GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection to connect to an exceptional writing tutor, college advisor, or career coach who can help teach you to craft the perfect thank you note for every occasion, meeting, and interaction.