How To Master Personal Thank You Notes To Grow Your Career

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Woman mastering thank you notes for her career

When you've interviewed for a job, you know to send the interviewers a thank you email, but do you also take the time to write a handwritten thank you note?

Saying "thank you" is automatic, isn’t it? It’s something most of us were taught as children.

Whenever someone gave me something, my mother would lean over and whisper to me, "What do you say?"

Of course, my response was, "Thank you!"

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As time went on and I learned how to write my name, I was instructed to write simple thank you notes for every gift I received.

My mother was a big believer in decorum. She was a very elegant and classy woman. She taught me that there’s more to writing thank you notes than just the phrase "thank you."

These notes of thanks hold more purpose than simply acknowledging a gift.

Learning how to write thank you notes after a job interview will help you grow your career, and here are 2 reasons why.

1. It demonstrates true interest.

It’s easy to dash off an email to one or more people, changing a word or phrase here and there.

Word processing makes this efficient and easy. It doesn’t take much time, nor does it take much thought. It’s equally as easy to delete the message.

While the person will know they've been thanked for their time, how long will that thought linger in their memory?

When you take the time to find a card and handwrite personal thank you notes, it demonstrates true interest, effort, and initiative to the person receiving the note.

The recipient may think that if you put effort into writing a well-crafted thank you note, you would probably also put noticeable effort into your job. Additionally, they may hold onto the physical note. It will serve as a visual reminder of the actual interview.

2. It shows your ability to communicate.

Handwritten thank you notes also highlight your ability to communicate well in writing.

Use good grammar, punctuation, and check your spelling. These are things the computer regularly does for us.

Take your time when writing your thank you notes so that your handwriting is easy to read.

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How to construct a thank you note.

You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money hunting for the perfect card.

Pick out stationery or cards, and a nice pen to write with.

Gone are the days when all you had to do was open your box of stationery to find personalized cards, as well as 5x7 notepaper, envelopes with your return address, and a fine pen for writing.

Now, most grocery stores sell packets of perfectly acceptable "Thank You" notes, typically in a package of 10. Many have the words "Thank You" on the front and are blank inside, leaving you room to write your short-but-thoughtful message.

Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS typically have a section devoted to cards. They also sell packets of "Thank you" notes, as well as individual "Thank You" cards.

Thank you notes have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

The beginning is your thanks to the person for taking the time to interview you.

The middle sentence or two talks about the company. Here's where you should mention something about the company and what prompted you to apply for this job.

Add a sentence or two describing why you believe you would be a good fit — not only in this position but also within the makeup of the company.

End your thank you note by telling the person that you enjoyed the time spent with them, and that you hope to have an opportunity to work at their company.

You can also write a thank you note for turning down a job.

Maybe it wasn't right for you at this particular moment in your life, but you don’t want to slam the door shut. You never know when a good opportunity may present itself.

Write a thank you note to the person who interviewed you, and let them know why you turned down the job.

Also, let them know the sort of position you feel would be a good fit for you. If there is an opening in the future, they may recall your interview and contact you.

The fact that you took the time to put pen to paper will leave a good impression. Much more so than a hastily crafted message sent from your computer.

Take the time and make the effort to write a thank you note. You never know where this thoughtful and polite gesture may lead.

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Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer, and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, hoarding, and chronic disorganization.