Why I believe in handwritten thank you notes

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Why I believe in handwritten thank you notes

Any of my close friends and family know I am a “thank you note” person. I love to write them, and I even like to buy thank you cards and stationery. If I receive a gift, a thank you note goes out, if we are invited to a nice dinner, a thank you note out the next day. To me it is just one of those courtesies I really enjoy.

When I am out and about, I look for cool thank you notes or ones that might just be perfect for certain occasions. It is fun for me! But since not everyone views these through my lens, this blog is to help you understand how a simple, but thoughtfully written thank you note can land you the job of your dreams.

A thank you note makes the recipient feel good.

For starters, it means more than an email. Emails are great for immediate feedback, (though keep in mind the other candidates probably took that 45 seconds too). Particularly, if you are in a tight race for a job, and you think an email needs to get to the hiring manager before he makes a selection. Also, we are an immediate society now with Instant Messaging, texting, etc., so if you need speed, definitely send an email, but then follow that up with a handwritten note.

Secondly, it sets you aside. I can’t tell you how many finalists I have coached to send a thank you note, and my client has gotten back to me saying, “hey we even got a handwritten thank you note from this candidate.” This is an opportunity for you to show the company how strongly interested you are in the position. Companies love to hire candidates that can articulate why they are interested in working there. It can easily be the deciding factor between two strong finalists.

It leaves an impression.

Thank you notes can be reserved for the people you had a sit-down interview with as opposed to a phone screen. Though if the number of people you had contact with is few, it wouldn’t hurt to send a note to someone you think took time out of their day to help you, even if that was the HR Manager who just set up the calls and interviews.

When wondering what to include in your thank you note, I recommend making it a little different than your email. Find something notable in your interview that shows appreciation or thoughtful reflection. For example, “John, I really enjoyed meeting you and especially appreciated the tour of your manufacturing floor after the meeting. I know we went over our allotted two hours, and you were trying to get out of the office. That was really kind of you and helped me get a clearer picture of the company as well.”

When you shouldn’t send a thank you note. Your writing is frightening, you missed the penmanship classes in school, or you could have been a doctor. If this sounds like you, you could actually do more damage than good here. Yes, sad to say, we have seen someone lose a job on a poorly written thank you note. The CEO was concerned the candidate would not be a good fit after reading a note with multiple grammatical errors.

And please don’t send a text. I am always a little shocked when I have a senior-level executive ask me for a cell phone number so he could send a CEO or VP a text. Ouch! Unless requested to do so by the interviewer, and I have had that example occur only once or twice, a text is just far too informal for the process, (by the way this does not include many entry-level jobs today where a return text is requested by the recruiter).

And in closing I’ll ask you this question. How does receiving a thank you note make you feel? Awesome, right? Now go order some thank you notes.


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