Number 1, January 2007
THE LOVING TREES NEWSLETTER
Writing Thank-You Notes in the Workplace
Writing personal thank-you notes remains one of the best ways to stand out in the workplace. Thank-you notes send several messages, all good. They demonstrate professionalism, appreciation, and good manners. After a job interview, they can reinforce your communication skills or correct misperceptions. In sum, thank-you notes strengthen business relationships and help potential employers remember you.
We have warmer feelings towards – and are more predisposed to helping again – those who thank us with personal notes. After participating in a forestry job fair, I received a thoughtful note thanking me from the president of the local student chapter of the Society of American Foresters. Would I be willing to support their efforts again in the future? You bet.
When do we write thank-you notes in the workplace? Often. At a minimum, write thank-you notes (1) after participating in job interviews; (2) after receiving gifts; (3) to acknowledge favors (such as referrals); and (4) to thank colleagues for work well done. Thank-you notes document our gratitude and reinforce the value of what someone else did for you or for the team.
For example, in the case of job interviews, write personal thank-you notes to each person you spoke with that day. In each note, highlight something you discussed in the interview or reinforce your interest in the job. In job hunting and business generally, it may be one of the most overlooked opportunities to help develop relationships, show appreciation, demonstrate communication skills, and reinforce your professionalism.
Use good judgment in choosing the ‘raw material’ for your notes. After a job interview, write thank you notes on personal letterhead or simple note cards. To thank someone for a gift or an informational interview or support at work, the note can be written on company letterhead or on personal or plain notepaper.
If you interview for a job at ACME Wildlife Services while working for the Timber Journal, it would not be appropriate to write thank-you notes on Timber Journal letterhead. On the other hand, if you interview an executive at ACME Wildlife for an article you are writing for the Timber Journal, it would be extremely appropriate to write an appreciate note on Timber Journal letterhead. The point may seem obvious, but people make the mistake.
Usually, I travel with a few note cards, envelopes, and stamps to write thank-you notes once returning to my hotel rooms or on an airplane. (For friends or family, I have used hotel letterhead and, in a pinch, cut my own postcards from the individual sized cereal boxes available at the breakfast bar. Neither of these approaches is recommended for professional correspondence…..)
Great thank-you notes are direct, timely, accurate, and signed. They explicitly say “thank you” and specify the gift or favor or interview that you are thanking them for. They are written promptly, preferably the same day. They accurately spell they name of the person. (The only thing worse than failing to send a thank-you note is sending one with a misspelled name). And they include your signature. An unsigned thank-you note is simply a glorified form letter.
In certain situations, thank-you emails may suffice. These would be true in cases where firms view email as a preferred form of communication or where your business relationship with an individual is based on email correspondence.
In closing, people read thank-you notes. Writing personal notes in a timely manner will distinguish you and reinforce business relationships throughout your career.
The Loving Trees Newsletter. Copyright © 2007 Brooks C Mendell. All rights reserved. We welcome sharing this newsletter in whole or in part if properly cited and attributed.