We have an intern at work who is trying to get hired on full time. A couple of us at the office have taken to giving him all sorts of advice and trying to guide him along. Yesterday he had a bunch of interviews. We sat him down, helped him assemble a portfolio of his work, gave him a nice notebook to take in, loaned him one of my pens and did what we could to prep him for the questions he would get.
Today, we introduced him to the lost art of Thank You notes. I am continually surprised how many people don’t think of sending them after an interview. I believe they are a critical step that is often overlooked. In fact, Thank You notes are not just for sending after an interview, but for anyone who does you a favor.
Some say Thank You notes are old-fashioned and out of style. I disagree. In fact, more than ever, they are wonderful ways to show you appreciate someone. In the age of email and instant gratification, taking the time to hand-write a note and send it via the postal service really stands out. It says, “I care enough about you enough to spend time and money to say so. Thank you for what you have done for me.”
Have you received a Thank You note? They are a wonderful surprise when they come. They are sure to draw a smile and a kind thought. They rarely get thrown out, too. I have a file folder at work for all the notes I have received since I first started working. I transfer that file from each job with me. I take them out and reread them, too. I love each one.
So how does one write a Thank You note? Start by saying, “Thank you for _______.” Tell them what they did that impressed. Be specific. When you write it out, don’t worry if it sounds small compared to the actual meaning the act has to you. Let the fact you are taking the time to send the note convey how much you appreciate their effort. It will, don’t worry.
Next, write a sentence or two recounting why their assistance means so much to you. Don’t stress to much over it. Just say what is in the heart. Can’t find the words to say it? How about these: “I can’t find the words to describe just how much your friendship means to me. Thank you so much.”
Simple and short. Three or four sentences are all you need. Sure you could go on, but don’t make the note into an epistle. That is for another time. Focus on the specific event where they changed your life in some small way. Make them feel the depth of your gratitude and move on.
Sign it and send it. I try to keep a box of notes, envelopes and stamps handy so I can take two minutes and dash off a note, address it and stamp it. The easier it is to do immediately, the more likely that it will happen at all. I keep a small list on my iPod Touch to remind me to write them when I get back to my desk.
Take a couple minutes this week and write someone a Thank You note. It doesn’t even have to be on fancy card. I will guarantee the recipient would rather get a note on spiral notebook paper over nothing at all. Take the challenge. Send someone a Thank You note and revive a lost art.