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Your mentor plays a pivotal role in your development and success. If you have a mentor, then you should send them a thank you letter to show your appreciation and acknowledge their contributions to your success. There are many ways to write a thank you letter, but there are key components that you should include. In this article, we’ll discuss how and when to write a thank you letter to your mentor and provide a template and example for writing your own.
Thank You Letter Format
- Start with a greeting.
- Share your gratitude with specific examples.
- Include any details from your conversations.
- Close with any additional thoughts or information.
- End with a polite closing.
*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.
What is a thank you letter?
A thank you letter is a letter designed to express your appreciation for someone. Thank you letters are often sent to people in response to a specific action or event meaningful for you. It gives you a chance to show that person you recognize what they did.
Thank you letters can be physical or electronic and generally follow the traditional letter structure. You can make your letter as long or as short as you feel appropriate. In the letter, describe the event and your reaction to it. That way, your mentor has a solid understanding of the reason for sending the letter.
Reasons to thank your mentor
Thanking your mentor is a personal experience and there are many reasons for it. If possible, focus on a single meaningful event. You can also focus on the act of mentoring as a whole by acknowledging the lengths to which your mentor went to help you. Here are some reasons to send your mentor a thank you letter.
To preserve a positive mentoring relationship
Receiving a thank you letter shows a mentor you recognize their contributions to your development. This acknowledgment can often sustain the relationship into the future. Mentees often return to their mentors at different points in their lives for further development and help, so you’ll want to keep the relationship positive so that your mentor can continue being a resource for you.
To give something back to your mentor
While mentoring can be fulfilling in its own right, you can add to the mentor’s experience by providing a tangible item like a thank you letter. This letter can act as a keepsake that they can revisit and reflect on your time together.
To remind your mentor of your skills and personality
Mentors are often leaders in their fields and industries. Because of this, you may want to work directly for your mentor. If this is the case, then a thank you letter can help. When developed the right way, it can remind your mentor of your personality and skills. These are critical factors in the hiring process, and anything that you can do to help your mentor remember you positively can be beneficial.
When to send a thank you letter
You can send a thank you letter at any time. However, it is often most impactful when it coincides with a specific event. There are specific events when you can and should send a thank you letter, including:
- When they’ve agreed to be your mentor
- After learning something especially meaningful
- After you earn a job, interview or another event
- At the end of your internship
When they’ve agreed to be your mentor
You should send a thank you letter when someone agrees to be your mentor. Securing a mentor can be a challenging task, and it is worth noting when you do to show them you recognize the importance of their commitment. Sending a thank you letter can also start a relationship on a positive note. Setting the tone and pace of the relationship early can help ensure a more productive and effective experience.
After learning something especially meaningful
Thank you letters are appropriate after your mentor teaches you something valuable. The times where something special happens can reshape how you think and push your development further. It is important to give recognition to your mentor when they make those events happen. This can also serve as a measure of your development milestones when you look back on your experiences.
After you earn a job, interview or another event
Many people seek mentors to help them in their careers. Working with a mentor can make a significant difference in your career, such as getting a job or an interview. If your mentor made this possible, you need to acknowledge their contribution. Here, you likely got the tangible results of mentorship you were looking for.
At the end of your mentorship
When your mentorship ends, it can be especially helpful to look back on your time with your mentor. Sending a thank you letter at the end of your mentorship can help you do this. It also serves as an acknowledgment of the effort that your mentor put into the relationship and ends that relationship in a positive way.
Tips for writing a meaningful thank you letter for your mentor
While just sending a letter can have a positive impact, there are some steps you can take to make it more meaningful. These tips can help you convey your thoughts effectively and have the impact you are looking for.
One of the most important things that you can do is be sincere. Any letter that is written from a sincere mindset can more effectively convey how you feel. Plus, your mentor will have a better experience with your letter if they can tell that you’re being truthful about your feelings.
Example: “Mr. Preston, I sincerely appreciate how you guided me through my internship process. It made a profound impact on my professional development.”
Provide specific examples
If your letter is based on a specific event, then provide specific details. It helps mentors to know what training events, tips and methods have the greatest impact on you. That way, they can be a better mentor.
Example: “Ms. DeAngelo, thank you so much for your mentorship. I especially benefited from your guidance before my presentation to the sales team.”
Let them know what they’ve done for you
When telling your mentor about your experience, it helps to let your mentor know what they’ve done for you. It can be highly motivating for a mentor to know that they have an impact on the mentee’s life.
Example: “Mrs. Le, thank you for your mentorship. I can tell that I am a more confident and effective social media manager because of your guidance.”
Offer to help
Your letter can also present a tangible benefit if you offer to repay your mentor’s kindness. A small act like taking notes in a meeting or securing a conference venue is a valuable way of expressing your thanks.
Example: “Dr. Sonora, since I value your mentorship so much, I would like to offer my help with any upcoming projects should you need it. I know you’re hosting management from the main office next month, and I would be happy to arrange the catering or help set up the A/V equipment.”
Choose a sending method
You can send a thank you letter to your mentor as an email or through postal mail. Since emails are instant, it makes it easier to have the letter arrive at a planned time. Email also allows you to include multimedia experiences. You can include music or video as a way of customizing the letter and improving the experience.
However, this also limits you to an electronic device rather than a tangible item. While postal mail may take longer in most cases, it allows your mentor to keep a physical copy of the letter. Many mentees use this opportunity to create an experience with special materials, including the type of ink, paper and script. That way, it becomes a keepsake for the mentor.
Template for a thank you letter to a mentor
Dear [mentor’s name],
First Paragraph: [Begin with a statement explaining why you are writing this letter. This paragraph should also give an overview of how you have changed because of your mentor’s influence. This paragraph should be no more than four sentences long and get straight to the point.]
Second Paragraph: [This paragraph should explain the background of your reason for sending this letter. Clearly dictate whether it is because of a specific event or for a more general reason. Use clear statements with familiar references that your mentor will understand. You want to build-up to the change that you experienced because of the event.]
Third Paragraph: [The last paragraph should explain the benefits you’ve experienced since the event. Make it clear that your mentor has had a positive impact on you. Also, offer a method of appreciation or assistance in the future if applicable. It is a way of giving back to your mentor.]
Regards [or another appropriate salutation],
Sample thank you letter to a mentor
Dear Mr. Pham,
I am writing to you to say how grateful I am for the mentorship you’ve given me over the past year. Having the opportunity to learn from you has made a substantial change in my career. When we first began working together, I never imagined I would be able to make as much progress as I have. Thanks to you, I moved up to a management position in the company.
Your training in team management showed me a whole new path to improving operations. Before working with you, I struggled to lead a small team. Thanks to the time we spent planning team-building best practices, I can effectively lead an entire department.
Having you as a mentor has changed my life for the better. I truly appreciate everything that you have done for me. If there is any way that I can repay you, please let me know. I look forward to working with you in the future.