Despite the advent of email, text messaging and professional networking sites like LinkedIn, thank-you notes have never gone out of style. You still ought to send one after a job interview. It’s meaningful to send one to a coworker after they’ve helped you with a project. And, it’s a good idea to send one after meeting someone new that you’d like to add to your network of professional contacts. No matter the occasion, or the recipient, there are some things you can do to be sure your thank-you note sends the right message.
1. Send a handwritten note, not an email.
A handwritten thank-you note will stand out in a totally different way than an email. Something that goes through the good ol’ USPS demands to be held in someone’s actual hand. They have to open the envelope, read your words and then decide what to do with the card. It’s a whole process. An email can be read and deleted in less than 60 seconds.
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It’s important that you get the timing right. You want to send your thank you pretty soon after the event that inspired the note. If you’re sending it after a job interview, for example, try to get the note out within 24 hours of the meeting. Keep in mind that it will take a few days to travel through the mail, too.
3. Write neatly and professionally.
You’ll defeat the whole purpose of your note if it makes an unprofessional or otherwise bad impression. So, make sure you write very neatly. Don’t use a silly color of pen (black or blue is probably best). And, be sure the card itself is professional, too.
4. Use proper grammar and spelling.
You may want to plan out your thank-you note in advance. Sketch out a quick draft beforehand. Double-check your grammar and spelling to be sure there are no mechanical errors. A thank-you note that contains a mistake like this could actually do more harm than good.
You want the person reading your card to have a pleasant and easy experience. So, keep your note short and sweet. Imagine that your recipient will probably read it standing on their feet as they’re trying to move on to the next thing. If opening your note turns into a more daunting and prolonged task then they were expecting, it could backfire.
6. Personalize the message.
A form-letter thank-you note won’t have much of an impact. In order to really make an impression with your card, you’re going to want to say something a little extra special. So, be specific. Reference a topic that came up during the meeting. Or, reminisce about a particularly exciting or pleasant aspect of the situation. Say something personal to get your reader’s attention.
7. If you can, make ’em smile.
A great message makes you think — and smile a little, too. If you can, say something funny or witty that will cause a smile to cross the face of your reader. It isn’t always easy, or even possible, to find this kind of a hook. But, it’s worth a try.
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