I risk coming across like your grandma here but bear with me for a minute…The thank you note (or email) is one of the most powerful and effective ways to make you stand out. This “tool” is simple but has almost been forgotten recently. I want to see it come back because EVERYONE loves receiving a hand written thank you note. Nobody will balk at receiving a genuine “thank you” note. At this point, the rarity of receiving one will make you stand out among your peers in the job interview process as well.
When to write one:
If anyone goes out of their way to help you with anything, this is a perfect opportunity to write a thank you note. Here are some examples of when to write a thank-you note:
- When you ask someone (a professor or supervisor) to write you a letter of reference or recommendation, you need to write them a hand written thank you note within the same week of receiving the letter. Writing a thoughtful letter of reference takes time and energy during their already busy work week.
- If a professor had a large impact or went out of their way to help you. At the end of your student teaching assignment if anyone at your school including your mentor teacher helped you. This may include the principal, office staff, specialists or parent volunteers in your classroom.
- During a job fair get the contact information (name, email address, business card) of the person you had a conversation with. After the job fair an email thank you note is appropriate and will make you stand out among the hundreds of people they have spoken to. Thank them for the opportunity to learn more about their district or school and let them know you have applied online. If you have not applied yet let them know what steps you have taken to further your application.
- During an interview make sure to get the name and contact information of the person who interviewed you. After the interview send a follow-up thank you email to the person within 24 hours.
- When you graduate and you get graduation presents a thank-you note is necessary.
Think about who has gone out of their way to help you recently. Think if a thank you note would be a great way to follow-up on this support given to you.
The hand-written note is so powerful. When you take the time to write a note it sends the message that you respect the person and value their time and energy.
I always kept a stack of thank you notes in my teacher desk and when I received help from a parent volunteer, a donation or support from another teacher I would write a thank you note. Again, nobody will balk at receiving a nice note and this easy and quick to do.
Have you written a thank-you note? If so, who has received one?
I have linked a set of thank you notes for you to get started. There are many different varieties or you could even create your own if you are crafty.