As I’ve gotten older, it has become more and more apparent that my mom was right. About everything. For example – Always write a thank you note. I loved Christmas as much as the next kid, but man oh man did I dread that pile of thank yous. Sitting at the kitchen table writing card after card for what felt like days. I can feel my inner child getting restless just writing this. However, it really is a great habit and something we should all strive to do. It really does make a big impact.

First up, let’s talk about why you should write a thank you note for someone. There are lots of reasons you should send a thank you but in my opinion, they break into three different occasions.

  1. Someone gave you something.
  2. Someone did something for you.
  3. You want to stay on someone’s good side.

There are three things to remember when you write a thank you note. I’m going to call them the 3S’s. Sincere, Specific, and Special.

  • Be sincere – Don’t sound fake or write something super out of character. Your recipient will know you don’t mean it.
  • Be specific – Mention something about why you are writing the note (i.e. if they gave you something, make sure you actually mention the item.)
  • Make them feel Special. Don’t write the same thing on every card. This isn’t a canned email.

    Category 1 – Someone gave you something.

    Of course the first thank you note category is pretty self explanatory. You should always write someone a thank you note when they give you a gift. Make sure to include something about the gift itself. The last thing you want to do is send a note so generic that you’d be better off not sending one at all. For example, if someone came to your bridal shower and gave you a picture frame, your thank you note could look something like this:

    Aunt X,
    Thank you for attending my bridal shower. It was so wonderful to see you. Thank you for the beautiful picture frame. I look forward to putting one of our wedding pictures in it! You are so thoughtful. I can’t wait to see you again soon!

    If you’re feeling like a real #overachiever you could put something even more personal in like “You looked so great in that green dress”. Anything you can do to make your recipient feel special and appreciated.

    Category 2 – Someone did something for you.

    The next thank you category is when someone does something for you. Again, the 3S’s still apply. Examples of writing a thank you for this category could include helping you move, watching your house while you were gone, shoveling your driveway after a snow storm, or numerous other generous things. An example of an act of service thank you may look something like this:

    Thank you for shoveling my driveway last week. I was so surprised and grateful to not have to get out in the cold to do it! You are so sweet to think of me.
    Thanks again!

    Category 3 – You want to stay on someone’s good side.

    Finally, the third thank you category is when you want to stay on someone’s good side. This is one of the most overlooked and difficult things to do. But it really comes in handy while job searching. As always, the 3S’s still apply. However, I feel this is the category in which they are most important. Especially “Make them feel special”. If you interview with 3 different people, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT write the same thing in all 3 thank you cards. What if one of them mentions your card to the others and they find out you wrote all three the exact same thing? BUSTED! An example of an interview thank you note might look like this:

    Thank you so much for meeting with me on Monday. I really enjoyed hearing more about XYZ company and enjoyed our conversation about ABC even more. With my leadership, project management, and customer service skills, I know I would be a perfect fit with your team at XYZ. I hope to speak with you again soon.
    Thank you for your time,

    One last thing to keep in mind is to be true to yourself but always keep your audience in mind. If I’m writing thank you cards to my friends and family, I will use fun stationary or cards and might even put stickers on the envelopes if I’m feeling crazy. However, if I am writing a note to a boss or a potential boss, I will only use professional cards or stationary and I don’t add stickers or glitter or any other bells and whistles. Elle Woods may have gotten away with a pink scented resume, but it’s not always the best plan.


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