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Thank-you Notes: How to Show Gratitude and Stand Out in a Crowd

Posted By: Marilyn Emanuel on March 22, 2015

There was a time when writing thank-you notes was something more than just a recurring joke on Phil Michelson And His Caddy At The 2012 Barclays.Jimmy Fallon. It was a sincere way to show that you were grateful for someone’s time and guidance. Both, by the way, are gifts.

Our devices have taken away the opportunity to deliver a personal touch—especially when it comes to saying “Thank you.” Incidentally, it’s these personal touches that are getting people hired. And email, now considered “old school,” is simply just not old school enough when you want to show real gratitude. And texts? Are you kidding? (“thanx for da time, dawg! wud luv to work 4 u. lol!”)

R U Listening?

Potential employers are getting texts every day. And they’re reluctantly hiring many of the senders anyway! But you’re going to be different, aren’t you? You’re going to do something unexpected that will give you an edge in landing the perfect job. Most potential employers appreciate a thank-you note, and it can make you stand out from the illiterate texting crowd.

A well-written thank-you note shows that you’re willing to invest extra personal time to show your gratitude. Yes, it takes more time, but it’s also well worth it. In fact, there are success stories upon success stories of people rewarded for their efforts.

So You Want to Be a Caddy?

Take Phil Mickelson’s caddy, Jim “Bones” Mackay. In her blog post “How to Caddie for Phil Mickelson,” Dana Steele, a top-rated keynote speaker on effective leadership, productive teamwork, customer service, and employee engagement, writes about the value of a simple thank-you note.

To illustrate her point, Steele links to a video about how Mickelson asked Mackay for some recommendations on caddies. Mackay had to rush off but sent Mickelson a handwritten note offering additional help finding the right caddie for him. Mickelson was impressed and ended up hiring Mackay.

Some Pointers

So, here are some hints on writing great thank-you notes according to us because, well, we also like getting thank-you notes:

  1. Be Timely: Send your thank-you note within 24 hours of your meeting—the faster the better, while your meeting is still fresh in your recipient’s mind.
  2. Be Sincere: Your taking the time to send a thank-you note says that you value that person’s time and that you hope that he or she will consider you for this or a future opportunity.
  3. Be Personal: Write it by hand. Take your time if your handwriting isn’t that good. Be sure to include something in your note that shows that you were engaged in the conversation. Don’t make your note as generic as if you had grabbed a fill-in-the-blank form. This demonstrates that you were listening, which speaks to how much you valued that person’s time and guidance.
  4. Be Different: Many people in business today don’t think the thank-you note is necessary, but since so few people do it, it’s worth doing, isn’t it?
  5. Be Classy: Invest in some quality stationery. Nothing against CVS’s greeting card selection, but, really, when you’re going for a job, invest accordingly.