Often, all it takes to stand out from the crowd is one extra little step that people notice and appreciate. In an interview, the extra step can be simply expressing your thanks in a handwritten note.

With text, email and any number of messaging apps, it’s easier than ever to send a quick note of thanks to someone. The problem with doing so is that it comes across as less sincere than a personalized, handwritten note.

There are a number of reasons to express thanks in a professional setting. Situations might include acknowledging a gift, someone giving you their time or someone going above and beyond in performing their duty. For example, it is more than appropriate to thank someone for sending you a new business lead and seeing you for a face-to-face interview.

Ideally, your note will convey a genuine sense of gratitude, strengthen your business relationship with the person and set the stage for future interactions. If done tastefully, a thank-you note can also serve as a subtle “call-to-action” – an attempt to convince the receiver to take future action.

What to say

The content of a thank-you note must be considered for it to be memorable and an effective interview tool.

First, a thank-you note should express how grateful you are that a person spent their time with you, contributed to your cause, or gave you an opportunity. The note should also reference something specific that you took away from the exchange. Next, you should address any concerns or issues the two of you might share moving forward. Toward the end of the note, you can talk about any steps or actions you are looking to take to address the issues or concerns you laid out. Always conclude the note by saying, “thank you.”

Extra touches

Philosopher Marshall McLuhan famously once said, “the medium is the message,” which argues the way we communicate says more than the actual content of the message.

Embrace McLuhan’s philosophy by considering the use of high-quality paper or stationery when sending your thank-you note. Ideally, you should have both a supply of personal stationery, as well as a supply of official company stationery. Some people opt for small 4″ by 6″ cards, rather than a full sheet of paper, particularly if you are writing a short note.

Using a pre-printed card is acceptable, but it should always include a handwritten personalization. If you do decide to go this route, don’t assume the receiver will recognize you by just your first name. Include your full name and contact information.

Finally, if you are sending the thank-you note through the mail, address the envelope by hand. Using a printed address instantly lowers the level of intimacy you are hoping to convey with your note. Also, use an appropriate stamp that conveys professionalism.

At Cornerstone, we understand the importance of showing your appreciation and strengthening your business relationships. We have excellent relationships with all of our clients, so feel free to contact us about any opportunities we might have for you.

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