Career Development

How to Write a Thank-You Note for a Recommendation Letter

March 23, 2020

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Thank-you letters, emails or cards are opportunities to acknowledge your referrer’s efforts for writing you a recommendation for a job. 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 provide several examples to help you compose your own.

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Why you should send a thank-you letter for a 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. 

Related: Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

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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

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

3. Proofread

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

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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 to assist 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.

Sincerely,
Miranda Campbell

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.

Sincerely,
Miranda Campbell

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.

Best regards,
Colin Bean

Related: How to Ask Someone to Be Your Reference: Email Examples

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.

Best regards,
Colin Bean

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