Guide to Thank You NotesJanuary 26, 2020
Thank you notes are a polite way to extend gratitude to someone for a variety of reasons. Professional thank you notes are appropriate for occasions like completing a job interview, meeting with a new business contact, celebrating long working relationships or receiving a gift. While it’s not required to send thank you notes in professional situations, taking this extra step can help leave people with a positive impression.
Here are some tips and an example to help you craft a thank you note that will help build better relationships and boost your career.
Why are thank you notes important?
There are three primary reasons you should send thank you messages to other professionals:
It’s common courtesy. Sending a thank you note is proper etiquette. While people may not always expect it, receiving a thoughtful message makes new contacts feel valued and can strengthen your working relationships.
It shows professionalism. Taking a few moments to express your gratitude to new colleagues, clients or business contacts communicates respect. It also shows your ability to be polite, attentive and that you know how to conduct yourself in professional relationships.
It will help people remember you. A well-written, timely thank you gives you the chance to make a lasting impression. Sending a thoughtful message—especially one that recalls specific details or points of conversation—ensures you won’t be forgotten.
It is healthy to have a gratitude-oriented mindset. Practicing gratitude can help you be happier overall, often leading to increased performance at work and overall success toward your goals.
When should I send a thank you note?
It’s best to send thank you messages as soon as possible. If you’re writing to thank someone for their time during a meeting, for example, its best to send the note immediately after you’ve finished the meeting. If possible, try to send the thank you email on the same day. Otherwise, aim to send it the day following your meeting.
By sending your note immediately, you’re showing the recipient that you’re enthusiastic about the topics you discussed and you’re ready to move on to the next step. Additionally, by sending your message right away, you can make sure you’re on the recipient’s mind as they make their decision—which is especially important if you’re sending a thank you note after a job interview.
How should I send a thank you note?
Some people prefer to send handwritten thank you cards. While a written note is much more personal, it can take several days for a card to arrive by mail. Unless you plan to deliver the note directly to the receptionist or front desk within 24 hours of your meeting, you may want to email your thank you note instead.
Who should receive thank you notes?
The recipients of your thank you messages will vary depending on the situation. A good rule is to always send your thank you note directly to the person with whom you’ve developed a relationship. For example, if an agency your organization contracts recently sent a gift to your team and the card was signed by the account manager, you would send a thank you note to the account manager.
However, in a situation where you’ve interacted with multiple people, it’s best to send a personalized thank you message to each individual. For example, if you recently completed a meeting with a new client and you met with the CEO, CMO and marketing director, you’d want to send a separate note to each of these professionals.
How to write a thank you note
It’s crucial you make the most of your thank you message by communicating the right information. Your email should show your gratitude and touch on relevant information critical to the relationship. For example, if you’re sending a thank you letter after a job interview, you’d want to highlight key skills and abilities that make you the best fit for the opportunity.
Here are five steps to help you compose a memorable, friendly and professional thank you note.
Start by sharing your gratitude. Begin your message with an opener like “Dear Candace,” or “Hello Candace.” Following the greeting, explain why you are writing with an expression of your gratitude. For example:
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our office yesterday afternoon.”
Include specific details from the conversation. Sharing details from your interactions with someone demonstrates active listening skills and conveys interest. It can also help a new contact remember you. This can be helpful if they talked with several people within a short period of time, such as if you’re sending a thank you note to someone you met during a conference or trade show. To make this easier, take a few moments to jot down some notes as soon as the conversation is over. This way, you won’t forget any meaningful aspects of the discussion. For example:
“Learning about how your team is working to resolve our scheduling issues was immensely helpful as we plan on working with more clients in the new year.”
Share why you’re excited about the opportunity. Although you likely shared why you want to establish a relationship during your initial conversation, it’s helpful to reiterate your enthusiasm in your thank you note. This shows the recipient you’re serious about developing a working relationship and want to continue your communication. For example:
“We are thrilled at the prospect of working more with you all on projects in the future, and hope to learn more about process efficiency from you as we grow.”
Proofread your message. Take a few minutes to review your thank you notes for any spelling, grammar or syntax mistakes. A message that’s free of errors shows you’re professional and detail-oriented.
End with a polite closing. Finally, end your thank you note with well wishes and a professional signature. If there are any key takeaways or next steps, include them in your closing statement. Remember, keeping it brief but impactful is the best way to ensure it is read completely. For example:
“We wish you safe travels as you head home and will follow up about our action items early next week.
Related: How to End an Email
Thank you note examples
Here is a thank you note example you can use as a template when crafting your own post-interview thank you messages.
Subject Line: Thank You
I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to meet with me this morning regarding your needs for a videography resource. It was wonderful meeting you and your team and learning more about your creative vision. And I always enjoy having a chance to talk with another SCAD graduate.
ABC Company seems like an excellent organization. I love that you’re all so committed to cross-departmental collaboration, and it was great to hear so many people outside the marketing team participate in the creative process. In my experience, that level of cooperation results in the best outcomes.
I was also excited to learn you’re especially interested in creating more documentary style content. This has always been one of my team’s favorite types of projects and, as you’ve probably seen on our website, it’s an area where we have a great deal of experience.
Thank you again for taking time out of your busy day. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
Dear ABC Company Team,
Can you believe it’s officially been five years since ABC Company and XYZ Creative started working together? I wanted to take a moment to thank you for a wonderful five years and celebrate everything we’ve accomplished. Please enjoy this gift basket as a token of our appreciation.
It has been a pleasure getting to know you all. Here’s to many more years of successful partnership!
While thank you notes are optional, sending this type of message shows the recipient you’re interested in establishing a professional relationship. It also demonstrates professionalism, ensures they recognize your enthusiasm and opens up the lines of communication for further discussion.