Anatomy of a Thank You Note

Anatomy of a Thank You Note | Sense of Sunny

If I had only 30 seconds to sum up the most important lessons I’ve learned in my adulthood, “saying thank you” would top that list. As a society, we often focus on how the individual rises to the top, pursues their lifelong passion, or single handedly changes the world. However, I believe that there’s a little more to the story than any single one person.

We are all challenged, motivated, and inspired by extrinsic factors. I would argue, that some of those biggest factors are people that teach us how to be and how not to be, the ones that encourage us to reach higher, and the ones that forgive us and love us when we don’t reach high enough. While saying “thank you” is pretty simple, I have found that writing a thank you note can transform that simple gesture to a more sincere and memorable act.

After graduating high school, I received more 20 dollar bills than I’d ever set eyes on. My biggest regret (after blowing through the cash and not understanding the value of saving) was not sending timely and thoughtful thank you notes to those that always gave me so much more than a simple “Congratz.”

Since then, I have utilized every opportunity to buy thank you cards and give them out like candy. With the end of an academic year upon us and many reaching the cornerstone of a great accomplishment, now is a good time to consider the anatomy of a TYN…because everything needs an acronym…and how you can give back to those that gave to you.

Who do I thank?

If you are graduating and received any type of gift, whether wrapped or monetary, thank the person who gave you the gift (duh, right?). While most gift givers won’t expect anything in return, expressing your gratitude will show that you acknowledge the effort that was invested in making sure you feel special.

If you are interviewing for a job, always follow-up with the hiring manager and/or the person who guided you throughout the process. Although I’m sure you killed the interview with your knowledge and magnetic personality, don’t let a job run away because you didn’t take the time to keep up.

What type of card?

If you’ve ever been down the stationary aisle of Target you probably noticed the options were endless (and cheap, some for as low as $3!). If you are sending this note to a friend, loved one, or acquaintance, find a set that shows your personality. This person may display the card or keep it as a memento, so you wouldn’t want to give them a folded up piece of loose leaf paper that will remind them of all your negative qualities. The fun part about writing thank-you notes is that eventually you’ll run out and have an excuse to shop for new designs.

If you are thanking a hiring manager after an interview, choose a style that is a little more professional and easy on the eye. You don’t want the card to distract from the message inside. When you are trying to say *~hire me~*, it is wise to avoid elements like glitter that will fall off on their pressed suit (and be stuck there forever).

What do I say?

There are many ways to say thank you (gracias, thx, you rock, etc.), however, the goal of a TYN should be to express more sincerity than if you were just sending a quick text. Always consider the message before you begin writing.

Think of a TYN as a mini essay. What’s the main point–did they give you something awesome you now use every day? Were you able to save the money to put towards a new car? Did you enjoy the interview process and meet tons of awesome people? Were you impressed by their organization or a memorable talking point?

Give them a brief update of how their hard earned funds or valuable time was used in creating your bright future. If you have no writing skills and don’t know how to form a complete sentence, at the very least, say THANK YOU.

When should I send it?

Don’t be like 18 year old me and either never send one or wait for months and months before placing a stamp on the corner of your envelope. If you are thanking someone for a gift or job well done, try not to exceed two months. At that point, it seems kind of irrelevant, right? However, I would never discourage someone to NOT say thank you, so if you wait 3 or 4 months after your birthday to say thanks for the gift and good time (oops…) than by all means, send away!

In regards to thanking a hiring manager after an interview, DO NOT wait. Within 24 hours of leaving the interview, throw that baby in the mail. The first impression will begin to fade soon after meeting you–don’t let them forget your name!

Do you write thank you notes? What pointers do you have?