The Importance of a Thank You Note
Finance and human resource spaces may be booming but even with the abundance of available work, the position you want is not going to fall from the sky. A promotion won’t be instantaneously granted, and clients won’t flock to access your services. You have to set yourself apart, and a thank you note can do that.
However, if sending a thank you note isn’t an already an ingrained response to showing your appreciation for someone or something, it’s in your best interest to make it a habit now. If you’ve been given a person’s time and expertise, sending a personal communication is the polite and right thing to do. And, beyond showing that you have good manners, your carefully written note also has tremendous professional value.
A Quick Overview
A thank you note is a positive and meaningful way to acknowledge other people. We all want to be recognized and appreciated for something we’ve done. By sending a note or a quick email, you’re illustrating your gratitude for that other person. Also, in these fraught, COVID influenced times, showing thanks goes a very long way. It can boost your standing in the eyes of the person or people you want to impress.
If done well, the small gesture of writing a note will leave a lasting impression. Most importantly, it’s an untapped resource. You likely don’t realize how impactful a note can be. It’s a smart, tactical way to network, and sets you apart from other candidates and competitors. And, it can become a great place to capitalize on building new relationships. Each person you thank should be added to your contacts, because it only takes one individual to lead to the open position you’d be right for, a promotion you haven’t heard about, or an introduction to prospective clients.
A How-to Guide for Thank You Notes
Our rapidly paced lives and often remote offices are no longer conducive to snail mail, so send an email immediately after you’ve spoken with your contact. By acting quickly, the memory of your conversation is still fresh in that person’s mind. You can reinforce a good impression or counter-act a bad one. If you’re unable to send a note right away, make sure to do so within 24 hours of your meeting. It’s also good practice to write thank you notes after each conversation that includes different parties. For example, if you’re interviewing, the person who conducts an initial phone screen ought to be thanked. In a group meeting, every participant should receive a personalized note.
If you’re in a situation where sending your note by mail is an option, (and some people choose to send both an email and mail response), avoid using your computer to print the letter. A hand-written card is a rarity these days, and sending one is likely to be quite memorable for the recipient.
When writing your thank you note, it’s important to remember who your reader is as well. Consider their personality, role within the organization, and how you felt you were received. By focusing on the person who’ll read your note, you’ll be able to consider its content, tone, and format. Think about what seems most appropriate for your contact. A formal conversation deserves a more conventional response but if your interaction is more casual, an informal response is appropriate. No matter the tenor of the communication though, you always want to remain professional.
Most thank you notes begin with a sincere expression of appreciation for a contact’s time and effort. The body of the note should contain details from the meeting that are compelling to the reader, but you should keep it fairly brief – try to limit it to three short paragraphs. Reference some of your conversation, especially if there are shared personal anecdotes or humor. Noting these moments reveals some aspects of your personality, acts as a conversation refresher, establishes common ground, and indicates that you paid careful attention to what was being said.
If your meeting was a rocky one, it might not be the right time to establish a real connection. But you want to leave the possibility open. The thank you note may not go very deep, but it can focus on how much you appreciated their taking time out of a busy schedule to meet with you.
Your contact may not remember all of the details of your conversation either, so take a sentence or two to reiterate what makes you the best fit for their needs. If there’s something important that your forgot to bring up, or weren’t asked about, now is the time to mention it, but again, be brief and stick to the points that are most applicable to the meeting.
Finally, a thank you note should be kind, and inspire a real connection, which can be truly significant in the increasingly complex world we live in now.