How To Write a Thank-You Note for a Recommendation Letter
Updated February 20, 2023
Thank you letters, emails or cards are opportunities to acknowledge someone for writing you a job recommendation. Learning how to write a thank-you letter and the best way to send it can show your appreciation and maintain your professional connection.
In this article, we discuss how to write a thank-you letter after receiving a recommendation and we provide several examples to help you compose your own.
Writing a thank you note for a recommendation letter maintains professional relationships and shows your gratitude for their time.
Make your note personal, calling out specific details about your relationship or qualities about them you admire.
Send your thank you in a timely manner—ideally 24 hours after they’ve completed your recommendation letter.
Why you should send a thank-you note for recommendation
Your referrer most likely wrote a thoughtful letter that describes your academic or professional accomplishments as well as specific skills that could help you excel in the potential role.
Sending a thank you message is a professional courtesy to acknowledge your referrer’s efforts, which can help you maintain a positive relationship with them. Plus, some people write recommendation letters for many employees or students. Sending a thank you message after receiving your letter will help your referrer remember you, which can be helpful if you need another recommendation in the future.
How to write a thank you letter
There are many ways you can write and send a thank you message. Follow these steps to ensure you create and deliver a letter that best shows your gratitude:
"Thank You Letter Format" is the title of this infographic that shows an image of an example letter.
On the left side of the infographic, a numbered list points to each section of the email:
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.
The letter reads:
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.
1. Choose the right format
There are several formats you can use to write a thank you message, such as a typed letter, an email or a handwritten card. Here are two tips to help you choose the right format:
Consider how your referrer typically likes to communicate. Certain people prefer using email for both formal and informal communication, while others are more likely to enjoy a handwritten letter or card. If you have the time and think that your referrer would promptly open the letter, it might be better to use a physical format for your thank you message. If you commonly exchange emails with your referrer, you could send your thank you electronically.
You can send both a brief email that acknowledges the recommendation letter and a formal letter later if you are unsure of what format to use. You can use the letter to add more details about your job search progress. Writing a letter is also a physical reminder of your gratitude that can help your referrer remember you.
2. Follow a basic outline
You can use an outline before you draft your letter to help you express yourself. Include these items in your message:
A polite greeting, such as “Dear Ms. Diaz”
A clear statement of gratitude
An update about the job you applied for
A formal closing and your signature
Proofreading is an important step to ensure your message is professional. Before sending your letter, review the spelling and grammar and verify any specific details. Taking a break between writing and proofreading your letter can help you evaluate it with a fresh perspective. You could also have a trusted friend or colleague review the letter for a different point of view.
4. Send your message quickly
Try to send your thank-you note soon after you receive the letter of recommendation. Your timeliness will show your appreciation and professionalism. You can also send a follow-up message once you receive an update in the hiring process.
Related: Guide to Thank You Notes
Sample thank you messages
Here are a few examples that you can use to learn how to write a thank you letter or email. You can use these samples to express your gratitude after receiving a recommendation as well as a follow-up to update the referrer on your job search progress.
Thank you letter for a recommendation
Dear Ms. Cooper,
Thank you very much for your kindness in writing a letter of recommendation to support my application for Waterhouse Associates. You have spent your effort and time assisting me, and I greatly appreciate it. I have wanted to work at Waterhouse Associates since my final year in college when I learned about its exciting publishing practices.
I am currently preparing for my first interview, which is early next week. Thank you again for your strong recommendation, and I will keep you updated regarding my interview progress.
Thank you letter after receiving a job offer
Dear Ms. Cooper,
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your recommendation letter. Your strong letter impressed the hiring committee at Waterhouse Associates, and my two interviews went exceedingly well as they offered me an associate editor position. I am sure that your letter helped me stand out from the rest of the applicants. I plan to keep you updated in my career progress.
Thank you email for a letter of recommendation
Subject: Letter of Recommendation—Colin Bean
Dear Mr. Sousa,
Thank you for the recommendation letter you gave me for my job application to Litchfield’s Green Gardens. It is sure to help me during the recruitment process.
I have wanted to work at Green Gardens for a long time, and I believe that your letter of recommendation gives me an advantage in this competitive field. Thank you again for taking the time from your busy schedule to write me a strong endorsement.
Thank you email after receiving a job offer
Subject: Letter of Recommendation—Colin Bean
Dear Mr. Sousa,
I truly appreciate the reference you gave me for Litchfield’s Green Gardens. The hiring manager called me this morning to offer me a job.
I believe your reference was a significant part of the reason the manager offered me a position. Thank you again for taking the time to write me a thoughtful recommendation letter. I hope to stay in touch in the future.
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