A Case For Thank You Notes

Have you ever been in a situation where you want to leave a strong, positive impression upon someone? Have you ever interviewed for a job? Have you ever received a birthday card from a relative? Have you ever been… You get the point.

We have all experienced moments when we feel as if we should show our thanks and appreciation to someone.

As a young adult I fear that my peers don’t say thank you correctly. Every situation requires a different approach, especially in the professional setting.

A text message carries the right amount of weight to thank a friend for doing a small favor. A phone call to a relative is appropriate when they send you a birthday card. Yet, in a professional setting these methods of “thanks” are not suitable.

The Problem

In my short-lived experience attempting to hire interns I have seen this problem firsthand.

Every individual I have interviewed (between 5 and 10) did not send a follow-up thank you. No email, no phone call, no thank you note. One student went as far as to send an email with further qualifications but forgot to mention his appreciation for my time.

This is not an ego driven approach to hiring. I don’t care if someone thanks me for my time. In this instance principle takes precedence over my desire to be “thanked.” I was, and still am looking for a candidate that goes above and beyond.

We haven’t hired anyone yet.

The Solution

So what gives? Why do I care so much about being thanked? Why do I even think this is a problem to begin with?

I’m nervous that the handwritten thank you card is dead.

For people my age (18-30 years old) the thank you card is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when looking for a job. Even beyond job hunting, a thank you note carries immense weight.

Who doesn’t like receiving something in the mail? Not your email inbox, but your physical, actual mailbox. You like it, I like it, everyone likes it. Receiving a handwritten piece of mail still elicits the same excitement today as it did 10 years ago.

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So, do yourself a favor, make someone’s day – send them a thank you letter.

After your next interview, send a thank you letter. After your great-aunt sends you a $22 check for your 22nd birthday, send her a thank you letter. After you experience great service at a business, send them a thank you note.

Why? Because of the law of reciprocity.

The law of reciprocity rules the land. Go out of your way to make people feel good and they in turn will go out of their way to reciprocate.

Thank you notes are your secret weapon. Use them often and use them wisely.

A Template

Writing a thank you note is simple. You should be able to jot one down in under 5 minutes. But, in case you cannot you can use this template.

Dear ________,

I wanted to send you this short note as my way of saying thank you for ___________. I greatly appreciated ________, and __________.

I look forward to ________ with you soon.

Best,

Zach

For example, your note could read…

Dear Mike,

I wanted to send you this short note as my way of saying thank you for the birthday present you sent me. I greatly appreciated the sunglasses, and the fact that you went out your way to send them to me.

I look forward to catching up with you soon.

Best,

Zach

I actually sent that note to Mike a few months back. His response was:

Thank you notes work. Use them.

PS Mike does sell some great looking sunglasses with an awesome social entrepreneurship twist. When you buy a pair of Waveborns, you’re helping fund life-changing cataract surgeries around the world. Thanks again for the shades Mike.

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