In today’s fast-paced and digitally-driven work environment, the traditional thank you note may seem like a relic of the past, overshadowed by emails, instant messaging, and social media. However, the attention and thoughtfulness of a thank you note makes it a powerful tool to set yourself apart in a sea of job applicants. Here are my thoughts on why the thank you note is very much alive and well and how you can use it to advance your career.
While we normally think about a thank you note as part of the interviewing process, expressing gratitude can be used in a number of ways. Think about how you build your network, or when someone does a favor for you, or recommends you for a project. These are opportunities to acknowledge that person and build your relationship. While emails and text messages have become the norm for quick communication, they lack the personal touch and sincerity that a handwritten thank you note carries.
The Thank You Note Advantage
In a competitive job market, you can use the thank you note as a strategic tool to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Whether after an interview, a networking event, or receiving guidance from a mentor, taking the time to send a thoughtful thank you note signals professionalism, attention to detail, and a genuine appreciation for the opportunities presented. A survey conducted by TopResume found that almost one-third of all professionals surveyed do not send a thank you email or note after every interview. The interesting part is that 68% of hiring managers and recruiters said that it matters and nearly one in five interviewers have completely dismissed a candidate because they didn’t receive a thank you email or note after an interview.
Personal Connection in a Digital World
In an era dominated by digital communication, personal connections can often be lost. The thank you note, especially when handwritten, brings back a sense of personal connection that is increasingly rare. You can use this to your advantage by making a lasting impression on potential employers, colleagues, or mentors. A handwritten note demonstrates effort and thoughtfulness, conveying the message that the interaction was meaningful and worth the extra time and care.
Building and Nurturing Professional Relationships
As you enter your mid-career phase, building and nurturing professional relationships are crucial. Thank you notes can be instrumental in solidifying connections made at networking events, conferences, or even within the workplace. By expressing gratitude for opportunities and insights, you can lay the foundation for lasting professional relationships that may open doors in the future. If you’re sending a note to someone on your team, you could also throw in a coffee gift card, to show appreciation for their help.
Standing Out in the Job Application Process
While many applicants may send a quick thank you email, taking the time to send a handwritten note can set you apart. This extra effort showcases not only gratitude for the interview opportunity but also a commitment to going above and beyond expectations. In a sea of electronic communication, a physical thank you note can be a memorable touch that helps a candidate stay top-of-mind for the hiring manager.
Elevating Your Personal Brand
Personal branding is a key element of career success. Thank you notes contribute to shaping your personal brand. By consistently expressing gratitude and appreciation, you can build a reputation for being respectful, courteous, and thoughtful. You might create your own thank you note with your personal brand, logo, colors, etc. You can order your cards in advance and keep them on hand for easy distribution. I love some of these note card designs from Zazzle, they would definitely stand out!
Tips for Crafting the Perfect Thank You Note
- Be Prompt: Time is of the essence. Send your thank you note promptly after the event or interview to maximize its impact. I recommend having a few blank cards with you before the interview and having them pre-stamped and ready to drop in the mail on the drive home from the interview or if it’s a Zoom interview you can have them ready to send out same day.
- Be Specific: Reference specific details from your interaction to show that your note is personalized and not a generic template. Take notes at the interview or immediately following and personalize each note to the person and conversation.
- Handwritten vs. Email: While email is efficient, a handwritten note adds a personal touch. Use your judgment based on the context, but consider the impact a physical note can have.
- Express Genuine Gratitude: Be sincere in your expression of thanks. Whether it’s for an interview, advice, or support, let the recipient know how much their time and input mean to you.
In my opinion, the thank you note is far from dead. It can be a powerful tool for people looking to make a lasting impression, build meaningful professional relationships, and advance their careers. In a world where digital communication often prevails, the tangible and personal nature of a thank you note sets it apart as a valuable asset in the arsenal of career development strategies. So, don’t underestimate the impact of a well-crafted thank you note – it might just be the key to unlocking new opportunities in your professional journey. If you’re looking for additional ways to stand out in your job search, let’s talk!