How to Write a Thank You Note For Every Situation

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After an interview for a potential job or internship, what is the first thing you should do?  If you answered go home and throw off your heels and pencil skirt, you are wrong.  But if you said go pick out your finest stationery and start working on a thank you note, you are absolutely correct!  While most college girls realize that sending a thank you note after an interview is obligatory, many girls don’t know what to write and do not think about all of the other situations that call for thank you notes as well.

A fabulous thank you note will help portray you as someone who is truly gracious and appreciative of a person’s time, which will speak volumes about your character.  This positive persona will help you stand out from the crowd, while not sending a thank you note will lump you in with all the other people who could not be bothered to write one.  A stellar thank you note could even end up being a deal breaker, opening doors for new opportunities if the timing is right.  Ashli, who was recently featured in a Her Campus article on college girls with the most awesome internships, wrote the VP of Merchandising for Oscar de la Renta a heartfelt thank you note after a meeting and got a shoutout on Twitter saying how much a good thank you note means.

With the help of Marci Raver, founder of the Contemporary Etiquette Institute, a social and business etiquette consulting firm, Her Campus will help take the guesswork out of figuring out what to write and explain how to compose a great thank you note worth remembering.

There are four basic parts to a thank you note:

  1. The greeting
  2. Say thank you (once) and mention what you are thanking them for
  3. Say something about the meaningfulness of the act
  4. Sign off (e.g., “Best,” “Sincerely”)

Writing quality thank you notes and getting them out quickly are both equally important parts of the process.  To be sure you are able to get the note out promptly, have quality note cards and stamps on hand, and remember to get the person’s business card so you know their title and where to send the note to.  Raver suggests that when searching for the perfect paper or note cards to use, look for blank cards that do not have “thank you” printed on them, and look for quality paper with beautiful lined envelopes.  Online companies such as Paper Source have great options as well as other retail stores like Papyrus.  Aim to get your thank you note in the mail the following day and definitely within the week.   Also, do not forget to include your contact information to make follow-up easy.

While sending a thank you note via e-mail sounds like a quicker and easier alternative to the traditional handwritten thank you note, think twice before sending one of these.  Although e-mails are faster, they lack the sincerity of a traditional handwritten thank you, which is more memorable and will help you stand out in today’s competitive work environment by leaving a lasting impression.  One additional option is to send both an e-mail and handwritten thank you note, especially if you believe time is sensitive.

When deciding on how long to make your thank you note, shoot for at least one solid paragraph.  You do not want the note to be so short that it seems insincere, but you do not want to write a novel and bore the reader to death either.  If you feel you have something important to say, by all means write it in the note, but be mindful of how long the reader will have to spend reading your note before moving on to another.

Here are some examples of thank you notes for every situation the typical college girl may encounter that all call for a thank you note.  Use them as guides when you need to write one, but be sure to put your own personal twist on them to make it genuine and unique.

Sample Thank You Notes

Thank you for an internship interview

Dear John Doe,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the position of Marketing Intern at XYZ Company.  The internship, as you described, seems to be a great fit for my skills and interests.  I am especially interested in the opportunity you mentioned to help develop social media campaigns, as I have had success with this at several of my past internships.  I should add that I have experience in public relations and marketing from several student organizations I have been a part of on campus, reaching out to over 20,000 students.  I appreciate the opportunity to interview for the position and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Why this works

  • Be specific about why you want the internship and why you would be a great fit
  • Provide a brief recap of your strengths that are relevant to the position
  • If you forgot to mention anything during the interview, mention it in the thank you note, but do not explicitly say you forgot

Thank you for lunch (to a superior who gave great career advice)

Dear John Doe,

Thank you for taking the time to join me for lunch the other day and giving me such great career advice.  It means a lot to have someone in your position provide me with guidance as I prepare to start my own career.  I plan to seriously consider your advice about how to handle my first year of law school and will also keep in mind your encouragement to study abroad at some point.  I will be sure to keep you updated on the developments in my life after graduation.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Why this works

  • Make sure you thank them for their time, especially if they went out of their way to meet with you
  • Touch on some key points they mentioned to show you were listening
  • Offer to stay in touch and follow through to maintain a positive relationship

Thank you to intern supervisor at end of internship

Dear John Doe,

Thank you for the incredible opportunity to intern at XYZ Company for the fall semester.  I could not have asked for a better internship experience and it was made possible by your help and guidance.  From the experience, I am walking away with many new skills and experiences that will be invaluable as I prepare to start my own career.  I am especially grateful for having had the opportunity to sharpen my communication skills by working with customers firsthand and working in such a positive team environment.  If I can ever be of further assistance to the company, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Why this works

  • Let them know how you benefited from the experience and how it will help you in the future
  • Mention specifically what you loved about the internship to make them feel productive
  • Offer to help out since this shows your commitment to the company and may initiate future opportunities

Thank you for a letter of recommendation

Dear John Doe,

Thank you for taking the time to write me such a glowing letter of recommendation.  I realize that composing a good letter of recommendation is time consuming, so I appreciate the effort you took to craft a letter that was meaningful.  I hope that your knowledge of my academic performance from taking several of your classes was helpful, and I will be sure to keep you updated on whether or not I receive the opportunity.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Why this works

  • If you were able to see the actual letter of recommendation let them know how great it was
  • Acknowledge how much time can go into writing a good letter of recommendation and how you are thankful
  • Promise to follow up on the opportunity since the letter of recommendation was an important part of the process

Sources
Marci Raver, founder of the Contemporary Etiquette Institute

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About The Author

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Michelle Pence is a senior at Missouri State University, majoring in Socio-Political Communication with a minor in Business. In addition to contributing career articles to Her Campus, Michelle is the author of the blog, The Good Intern, which offers advice to college students about interning and preparing to enter the workforce. In her three years of college, Michelle has participated in eight internships, and plans on adding a few more to her resume before graduation. Aside from writing and interning, Michelle is a member of Delta Zeta Sorority and Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity. In her spare time Michelle loves politics, trashy reality TV shows, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends.