Thank you letters only take a few minutes to write but they carry a lot of weight. In a professional sense, they may be the thing that makes you stand tall above the crowd. In a personal sense, they have the power to make someone else feel appreciated and special.
No matter the setting, a thank you letter can keep the lines of communication open between you and the recipient, and that's certainly a good thing. Before you sit down and rack your brain over how to write a thank you letter, why not browse through some of the tips and samples below?
Thank you letters are appropriate in many different areas of life. In a professional setting, they're not only appropriate, but highly recommended after an interview. In a personal setting, they can help a loved one feel special and allow you to express genuine appreciation.
Here are a few different occasions that may call for a thank you letter.
After a job interview
After staying at someone's home
After receiving a gift
After getting a job offer
After a special occasion, like a wedding or birthday party
The recipient of your thank you letter will impact how you compose it. A professional letter will read differently than a personal letter to a friend or family member.
No matter the addressee, there are five main elements to any letter:
Address the other party in an appropriate manner. If this is a professional thank you letter, use a proper title (e.g, Mr., Ms., or Mrs.). If this is a personal acquaintance or friend, use their first name.
Start with thank you. Come right out with it. For example, "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today," or, "Thank you for your thoughtful gift." From there, you can elaborate in a thoughtful manner.
Elaborate. After you've expressed your thanks, elaborate a little more. If you're thanking someone after a job interview, highlight something you learned in your meeting and offer an example of how your skills line up with the position. If you're thanking a friend for a gift, explain why you're particularly grateful for it. Perhaps the new earrings go well with several outfits in your wardrobe or the leather padfolio will get a lot of use in your new position.
End with one more thank you. After you've offered a little detail to illustrate your gratitude, offer one more word of thanks. Consider something along the lines of "Thank you again for your time" or "Thank you again for your thoughtfulness. It meant the world to me."
Sign off. Depending again on the professional or personal tone of your letter, sign off with "Sincerely," "Best wishes," "Gratefully," or any other appropriate closing.
Once you have an idea of what you want to say and the tone you need to take, there are a few other details to keep in mind.
Be prompt. A delayed thank you letter has less meaning than a prompt response. If you're drafting a thank you letter for a job interview, send it that same afternoon or the following morning. If you're thanking a friend for some kind of gracious gesture, send it within a day or two of their act of kindness.
Be specific. It's almost a waste of your time if you don't take a moment to add a personal line or two to your letter. People can sense a generic thank you letter and it will carry little meaning. That said, you don't have to overdo it with gratitude. Just a simple line or two will do.
Be brief. Keep in mind that people lead busy lives with packed schedules. Thank you letters can range from a few sentences to a few paragraphs, but you never want to exceed two or three short paragraphs. Remember, you just have to say thank you, offer a thoughtful detail, offer one more word of thanks, and sign off.
Be an editor. Be sure to review your note before you send it, especially if it's being sent in a professional capacity. If you're thanking a potential employer after an interview, this is not the time for even the slightest grammatical error. Sometimes, reading things out loud can help ensure precision. Also, triple check the spelling of the recipient's first and last name.
Below, you'll find a sample letter to correspond with each of the occasions listed above. Although the tone and intent may vary a little, each one can serve as a template to help you get started.
Perhaps one of the most pivotal thank you letters are the ones you send after a job interview. They need to be sent promptly; they need to be clear and concise; and they need to be memorable. An e-mail is the most appropriate forum for these letters.
Also, if you met with a team of interviewers, send an individualized note to each person. Ask everyone for a business card as you're saying goodbye.
Subject Line: Thank You - Social Media Manager Interview
Dear Mr. Gold: [Use a colon in formal settings.]
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I enjoyed learning more about the Social Media Manager position within Gold Enterprise. It's an excellent match for my skills and interests, given my background as an SEO Specialist.
Your modern approach to social media marketing, including your highly refined SEO tactics, confirmed my desire to become a member of your team.
In addition to my enthusiasm, I'd also bring my social media expertise, time management skills and team player approach to the department.
Thank you again for reserving an hour out of your busy schedule to interview me today. I remain very interested in becoming a member of your team and look forward to speaking with you again!
1112 Boston Avenue
Boston, NY 12345
Whenever someone opens the doors to their home and has clearly taken the time to be hospitable, you always want to thank them for sharing their personal space with you.
These occasions do well with an old fashioned, handwritten note. But, if you'd prefer an e-mail, that's acceptable too.
My dearest Jennifer, [Use a comma in informal settings.]
Thank you so much for having me and Peter this weekend! We had a fantastic time in Seattle, thanks to your hospitality. I don't think I'll ever forget the steak-frites from Jacques Pepin!
Your home is absolutely gorgeous and we couldn't have been more comfortable. It's safe to say you have the coziest bed on the planet!
If you ever find yourself in Savannah, know you have a place to stay!
If someone sent you a gift for a special occasion, you probably want to pick up the phone and call them right away with a word of thanks.
However, it's still important to send a thank you letter, as it not only solidifies your gratitude, but makes the sender feel special because you took the time to do so.
My dear friend Sara,
Thank you for the gorgeous pair of earrings you sent me for my birthday! You know me so well. That rose gold is going to match at least half my wardrobe!
It's been ten years since we met in that fateful English 101 class, and I couldn't be more grateful for your friendship.
Thanks again for making my birthday even more special. I'll send you a pic when I wear them to work on Monday!
Once you receive a job offer and learn all the details of the position, you have a short window of time to either accept the position or decline the role. A lot of this might be handled over the phone but, in many instances, it can all be handled via e-mail as well.
If this is going to be a written correspondence, here are two samples you can follow: one as a letter of acceptance and one as a letter of rejection.
Subject Line: Job Offer - Social Media Manager
Dear Mr. Gold:
Thank you for offering me the position of Social Media Manager with Gold Enterprise. I appreciate all the time you took to interview me and consider my application, and I am delighted to accept the position.
Out of respect for my current employer, I'd like to extend them the courtesy of two weeks' notice. Following that, I'll be ready to join the team on Monday, December 28. Please let me know if these dates line up with your schedule.
Until then, I'll look forward to joining your team! Thank you for this tremendous opportunity.
Subject Line: Job Offer - Social Media Manager
Dear Mr. Gold:
Thank you for offering me the position of Social Media Manager with Gold Enterprise. I appreciate all the time you took to interview me and consider my application. However, I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to accept the position.
While it sounded wonderful, I must go in a different direction at this time. I wish you all the best and hope we can continue to associate in the future.
Once again, thank you for the opportunity to meet you and your team.
Did you celebrate a birthday amongst friends and family? Or, perhaps it was a wedding shower or a welcome home party? No matter the occasion, it's important to send a thank you letter to everyone who took the time to celebrate your special moment. This is still one thank you that requires pen to paper in a handwritten show of gratitude.
Thank you so much for coming out to celebrate my 40th birthday! There's no doubt this is going to be my best decade yet, and part of that is because I rang it in with you.
I hope you enjoyed your time at the party! You'll forever hold a special place in my heart and I can't thank you enough for making the drive.
Beyond that, the silk scarf you gave me is absolutely stunning. I've already put it on a few times and paraded before the mirror! You're so thoughtful (and a girl can never have too many scarves)!
I love you to the moon and back. Thank you for making my birthday even more meaningful. Talk soon!
Your loving friend,
Although it may seem like letter-writing is a lost art, that's not true in the world of thank yous. A handwritten note speaks volumes and can make the recipient feel valued.