As a child, my mom insisted I pen a handwritten note thanking my Grandma Schmitt for her birthday present before I even dreamed of going out to play. I wasn’t happy – that thank you note stood between me and the game of kickball going down in my neighborhood. But the next time I visited my grandma, the note was taped to her avocado green fridge. She told me it made her smile every time she walked past. I learned that day that penning a well-written thank you note is an important skill.
Embracing this important skill shouldn’t be a lost art. It’s not old-fashioned to send a thank you note – it makes good personal and professional sense.
First, writing a thank you note after an interview is given (carry stationary with you, stamp ready, and drop it in the mail before you head home).
I’ve seen a number of excellent candidates not invited back because they didn’t send a follow up email thanking the panel after the first round of interviews. Don’t let this be you. Send an email to each person you interviewed with. It doesn’t have to be long. Include one detail from the interview per person along with your interest in the position. Be sure to spell check it.
Fast forward. The thank you notes helped and you got the job. You’re meeting lots of new coworkers, whether on a Zoom call or in the office. A new acquaintance sticks out by something they’ve said to you. They offered you a piece of good advice or an interesting strategy. Don’t let the moment pass. Drop them a note thanking them for taking the time to get to know you better.
These days, with so many emails sitting in our inboxes, receiving a handwritten note in the mail is a real treat. People will remember the gesture. I have a stack of thick flat note cards I pull out every couple of months to write notes. I use them to jot down a memory, mention a recent social media post or just to say hello.
When I started Bee Young Comms, I hand wrote more than 250 notes to friends, family and past colleagues. Each note included a handwritten message and a business card. Not only did I receive a number of congratulatory texts and emails, I also picked up several clients and referrals. I followed up on those referrals with an additional note of gratitude.
It isn’t what’s written in the note experts say, it’s the fact you sent it. Gratitude feels good. When I worked at USC, a former Gamecock football player, Henry Taylor, called me asking for my Clemson football tickets. I felt bad because I’d given away my allotment. But, we had a nice chat anyway. A week later, I opened an envelope with a note from Henry. Henry thanked me for taking his call and for being nice about the tickets I DIDN’T give him. That’s class and something I’ll never forget.
So, take five minutes, jot down that note you’ve been putting off. Penning a well-written thank you note should come first. That kickball game will still be there when you finish.
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