Last week, I discussed how to ask for a letter of recommendation. Assuming your request for a letter has been affirmed, then you need to write a thank you note. Thank you notes are also necessary after you have had a job interview. They are also a good idea to a scholarship committee or granting foundation, especially if you received funding. In short, just like your mother may have told you (and even she didn’t, let us be the ones to tell you): thank you notes are low investment on your part but they pay high dividends to you. In contemporary speak, thank you notes have a high ROI (return on investment).
Thank you notes for letters of recommendation:
Tucker Cummings writes here about the important components of a thank you letter to a professor. There are examples of general thank you notes as well as specific ones for letters of recommendation. Notice that the advice includes hints like “make sure to spell the professor’s name correctly” which may seem obvious, but aren’t always followed. (Students spell my name wrong ALL the time; a simple google search will turn up the correct spelling and take all of 2 seconds.) Also, notice that the advice says to “be specific.” Name something specific that the professor did for you (e.g., write a letter of recommendation for X occasion).
Thank you notes for job interviews:
Liz Ryan writes here about the important components of a thank you letter after a job interview. Any job interview! (On campus job interview, summer job interview, career job interview, etc). The author includes two examples of thank you notes — and gives the extra guidance of how to differentiate your email thank you note from your handwritten one. Take note, people! Thank you notes matter. They remind the person of who you are — as a potential colleague and co-worker. They also show the person that you are thoughtful and conscientious about your relationships. This is key for so many jobs and situations. Note that Liz Ryan also states that being specific in the thank you note is key. So, take good notes at the interview so you can do the follow up in a positive and successful way.
Even if you don’t want the job or aren’t offered it, you should still send thank you notes. The world is actually much smaller than we think. A thank you note to one professor or company/business could put you into a good relationship with another opportunity due to connections. So, take 5 minutes to write that letter, today!