I’ve opined on the
issueof handwritten thank you notes before.
I think mailing a handwritten thank you note after an interview is horrible practice for four reasons:
- There’s a delay.
- The letter might never get to your interviewer. It could get lost in the mail, the secretary could throw it out, or it could end up in a pile of envelopes that don’t get opened for months.
- It feels old.
- The chance of the interviewer writing back to you is slimmer.
That still holds true for interviews. Email is always the way to go.
However, as I’ve spent much of the last few years watching people come, and sometimes go, from Business Insider, I’ve reached an unexpected conclusion: There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about getting a handwritten thank you note on someone’s last day of work. (Their internship is ending. They’re moving on to another job.)
It’s a simple but worthwhile gesture for these reasons:
- Because you likely work in an office, a handwritten note can be easily delivered to the person, by you.
- It shows thoughtfulness. You had to go out and buy stationery and a nice-ish pen. And you had to formulate your message before you started writing, because you can’t just hit “delete.”
- You can force yourself to deliver the note in person, so it sets up the perfect thank you/goodbye/handshake moment on your way out.
- Your boss will read it. Nobody has the heart to throw out a handwritten note.
- Not many people do this, so it will help you stand out.
- Your words, if phrased well, will help you leave on a good note.
I save all my handwritten thank you notes to look back one day and remember the people who were old fashioned and thoughtful enough to say a few nice words before closing the door behind them.
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