Behold: The Power of a “Thank You” Note

Growing up, my mother forced me to write personalized thank you notes for every gift I ever received…and for every major life milestone. Huge. Pain. But as I got older, I realized a thank you note was not only a way to say “thanks”, but a way to show appreciation and respect for someone who went out of their way to do something nice for you.

Knowing that thank you notes are a great way to show your appreciation, why wouldn’t you utilize them in your professional life as well?

Fast forward a few years to when I started interviewing for internships in college. My professors advised me to follow up each interview with a personalized thank you note. Ugh. Not again. As a bratty, too-concerned-with-social-events college student, I very reluctantly wrote them. “These people get a ton of mail each day – they’ll never know if I followed up with a thank you note or not.” Boy was I wrong!

Now that I am sitting on the other side of the table and interviewing interns for my firm, I understand why a thank you note can be so important for your career:

  1. When a company is looking to fill an open position, a brief note can set you apart from others, forcing your interviewer to go back and think about your interview again.
  2. While e-mail thank yous are nice, taking the time to personally write a note and snail mail it shows enthusiasm and commitment.
  3. Demonstrating gratitude & respect is a reflection of the type of worker you’ll be; one who makes an effort to get along with others and to fit in with the culture of the company.

This may be a no-brainer for you, but not everyone does it. Taking the time to write a short, personalized note can make all the difference.

And you shouldn’t limit thank you notes to post-interview follow-ups.

My supervisor recently gave me some great advice: You should always write a hand-written note after getting a promotion, raise or bonus. The thought never crossed my mind before then, but I think it’s a great rule to live by. After I received my end of the year bonus, I wrote thank you notes to each partner of my firm. The next day, I was told by one of them, “I really appreciated your note. Your mother is the only one who raised you right.”

Shop at CVS or your local grocery store and you will find cute, inexpensive packs of thank you notes.  Think of it as just another way to Style Your Life!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.