How to Write a Thank-You Letter

Thank You: The two most important words! This article explains how to write courteous, professional or personal thank-you letters.

  1. If possible, address your letter to a specific person
    Do not address your thank-you letter just to the company or organization in general.
  2. Do not thank the person beforehand
    For example, "Thanking you in advance for your help in this matter". To do so is presumptuous and suggests you are unwilling to write a follow-up letter.
  3. Stick to the point
  4. Be sincere
    Most people can sense when you aren't being honest.
  5. Make your letter stand out
    Be creative. Create a headline if appropriate. Be specific and include details from the event.
  6. End the letter on a positive note
    Closing depends on the type of thank-you letter. For example, you may:

    • Reaffirm your gratitude or restate the compliment.
    • Suggest possible future action.
    • Close with either an expression of thanks or an indication of your intention to continue contact.
  7. Use an appropriate letter closing.

Thank-You Letter Tips:

  • Write your thank-you letter as soon as possible after the interview or occasion. For a job interview, this should be within 24 hours of the interview.
  • Write clearly and concisely; this is no time to be longwinded or flowery.
  • Handwrite personal letters and use customized letterhead for business correspondence. Use quality paper. E-mail may also be appropriate in less formal situations, especially if the addressee expresses a preference for it or if time constraints require it.
  • Proofread the letter before sending it: grammatical errors and typos are sloppy and unprofessional. You may want to wait awhile and proofread it again. Some professionals proofread by reading the letter backwards.
  • Realize that often a thank-you letter is placed on a person's desk
    There it reminds that person of your appreciation so choosing the right words is essential.
  • Remember, everyone loves a cheerful letter that says you appreciate their kindness.
    Of all the letters you will write, the thank-you letter may be the most important because it has the potential of producing the most good.

    People respond positively to thank-you letters that express kind thoughts and warm feelings.

  • Should you e-mail personal thank-you notes to your boss?
    In a recent survey by the Emily Post Institute, 70% of managers said e-mailing thank-you notes was appropriate, especially to acknowledge a small gift or gesture.

Why writing a thank-you letter can get you a job:

Managers say thank-you letters are expected in most situations. A recent survey by CareerBuilder.com found that:

  • Nearly 15 percent of hiring managers would reject a job candidate who neglected to send a thank-you letter after the interview
  • 32 percent said they would still consider the thankless prospect but that their opinion of him or her would diminish
  • Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of managers prefer handwritten thank-yous
  • 21 percent seek a typed hard copy
  • 19 percent want e-mailed thank-yous followed up with a snail-mailed letter

More Thank-You Letter Tips

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