Once again, we’re going to wax nostalgic about the (almost) lost art of letter-writing; or in this case, thank you card writing. It’s an art suitable for all occasions, both personal and professional.
By all appearances, there’s a group of folks entering the workforce today who may not know how to address an envelope (see below), or business correspondence. My own 27-year-old nephew recently had what is usually described as a ‘senior moment’ when he momentarily blanked on how to fill out a check. With options like email and Venmo, these skills simply aren’t needed as often as they once were. With all that said, I’ve also noticed that Millennials (they HATE that label, by the way… probably as much as they hate being broad-brushed) will, on occasion, embrace the analog life experience—sometimes when they think no one is looking, and other times when they want to appear quirky and hip. (I’ll bet they also don’t like to be analyzed) However it happens, the result will be a generation who will get the most out of multiple communication technologies, choosing the best of both.
Assuming I haven’t ‘clicked off’ any and all readers under the age of 30, I’d like to share the finer points of thank you note writing for those young job seekers, because it’s useful not only in personal communication, but in the business world as well.
Most recruiters and job coaching consultants will tell you that sending a note after an interview can put a candidate at the top of the heap Click To Tweet and assuming it’s done right, you have nothing to lose by expressing gratitude for the interviewer’s time. This is a good list of tips for making the right impression with your thank-you card. A few of the points are specific to emailed notes, but for the same reason we encourage printed cards in these matters, the advice that’s laid out for sending a physical card is spot-on. And according to this article in the Harvard Business Review, “these simple acts of investment, remembrance, gratitude, and appreciation can show the people who matter to your life and business that they are important to you”.
Points to remember, especially when sending a thank you card or note after a job interview:
- Quality (ink) pen – blue or black. No, not pink.
- Perfect spelling, grammar, & punctuation.
- Penmanship – practice your note on a piece of paper and edit it until you know it will fit on the thank you card.
- Hand address the envelope – see our handy little diagram if you haven’t done this before!
- Mention something specific to remind your interviewer about your meeting. (She may be interviewing many candidates, and your hand written thank you note will certainly help you stand out from the crowd.)
- Don’t dawdle, your thank you card should be mailed the day of or the day after your interview.
- By all means, send a thank you email too, shortly after the interview.
Obviously, you’ll use a good quality ink pen and excellent spelling, grammar, and punctuation when you fill out the card, and you’ll tailor your message to your recipient. Keep it short, but mention something specific that you discussed with your interviewer (as noted in this post on Forbes).
Use it as an opportunity to show off a bit of your writing skill, they’ve already seen your résumé and know you’re good with technical communication, now give them a sample of your more creative, less formal writing style. Put the same care and attention into the envelope; use an appropriate stamp, address it neatly, put your return address and maybe a seal on it, and off it goes to represent you in the best possible way!
I love this BusinessNewsDaily blog post about thank-you cards because it addresses (pun intended) the excuses we use for not writing notes first thing, and POOF! they’re gone! Then it goes into the wonderfulness of the thank-you card, not the least of which is the magic power of a few kind words to cancel out a whole lotta rudeness.
As life goes on, there will be a great many reasons to skillfully deploy a thank you note; weddings, graduations, fundraising thank yous, attendance of charity events, pulling you out of a burning car—basically any time someone does something nice for you or goes out of their way on your behalf. But for now, mastering the art for job-seeking or even advanced academic pursuits is a great start.