A Personalized Handwritten Thank You Note: Why Bother?

I discussed the importance of sending a handwritten thank you note after job interviews in my Leadership and Career Management class. A student asked me: “Can’t I write an e-mail?” I could tell she felt “shocked” when she heard “handwritten.” Seriously, why do we bother to “write” a thank you note in the 21st Century?

Several days ago, I celebrated my birthday. A friend of mine mailed me a personalized handwritten birthday card. Does it sound very old-fashioned and out-dated? Yes, it is, but I love it! Especially, I very much appreciate my friend’s time and attention. Likewise, the purpose of sending a thank you note after job interviews is to remind the recruiters (a) how serious you are, (b) how much interest you have for the job, and (c) how much attention and respect you show to the recruiters. Nowadays, people may receive hundreds of e-mails per day (one of the technology trends). A thank you e-mail will very likely be filtered as “spam.” Even if the e-mail goes through, how much attention do you think a recruiter will pay to that message? If e-mail is not an option, how about typing a thank you note and just signing a name in the end? In my opinions, a typed thank you note looks too “genetic” and lacks of “personal touches.” Here, I would like share some suggestions of writing a personalized thank you note:

1. It needs to be short and specific. Thank you note is not a letter or a resume.
2. A “personal touch” makes a thank you note special. You may follow up with a particular discussion or conversation between you and the interviewers in one or two sentences.
3. Engage with the recruiters by asking intellectual questions about the job or the company or by reminding recruiters your interest of the job.
4. Even though it is a handwritten document, it must be error-free. Good penmanship is also helpful.
5. It must be mailed within two business days after an interview is completed.
6. If available, you may mail it together with your business card.

In reality, a personalized handwritten thank you note could become a hiring factor. What do you think? What are your suggestions?

Picture was copied from http://learnthat.com/files/2008/01/thank-you-note.jpg

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