The lost art of the thank you note

Growing up, I was always told to send a hand-written thank you note to someone after an interview (or if they give me a really snazzy present).

Nowadays, it’s common to see email thank you notes (or no thank you note at all). Today, I just received an email holiday card from a company with whom I do business.

To me, there’s no substitute for a hand-written thank you note, and I would argue that they’re even more important and more impressive today than they were five or ten years ago.

Prior to the ubiquitous nature of email, it was relatively common to get hand-written thank you notes after interviews, but not a guarantee. When I would interview candidates, I’d estimate that I received thank you notes from about 33% of them.

When I interviewed for a position, I always made sure to get the proper contact information – including the person’s title and spelling of their name – so that I could fire off a thoughtful thank you note immediately.

Thank you notes illustrate that you cared enough to purchase a card, hand-write it, purchase a stamp to mail it, and give them something physical with which they can interact.

To me, an email thank you takes very little effort and just doesn’t show the passion of a hand-written note.

Also, a hand-written note breaks through the clutter to someone who receives over 100 emails a day. People still love getting physical mail, and we get less now than ever before. So to receive a hand-written note is something special and makes the receiver remember the person who sent it.

This is one of those posts that I debate pushing to production because I think writing thank you notes gives me a leg up on others who don’t. On the other hand, if you read this, and I’m interviewing you for a job, consider this one of the bars you must reach.

-My name is Jon Friesch, and I thank you for being part of this blog in 2011. Looking forward to even more activity in 2012.

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