Writing and Sending the Perfect Thank-You Note

Are you searching for the perfect way to show your appreciation to someone after receiving a thoughtful gift or attending a job interview? Push the keyboard aside—a traditional thank-you note is the way to go. In a world where a large amount of business correspondence, holiday greetings, and party invites are sent through email or social media platforms, a physical note is a refreshing reminder that there are people behind those screens. But how, exactly, do you pen the perfect message? Where do you even purchase note cards? We’re here to answer those questions and more, by demystifying the art of writing thank-you notes.

When Should I Send a Note?

Here’s a good rule of thumb: send a note when another person does something for you that doesn’t require that same action in return. This could be anything from attending your wedding and bringing a gift to providing professional guidance on your career path. If you think a thank-you note would be appropriate, chances are the recipient will appreciate it.

Here are a few people who probably deserve a thank-you card:

  • Wedding guests
  • Baby shower attendees
  • Job interviewers
  • Networking or professional contacts who offer their time and advice
  • Birthday party attendees or people who send gifts
  • Holiday gift givers
  • “Get well soon” or “Thinking of you” note senders

There is no hard and fast rule regarding time limits for sending a thank-you note, but we recommend putting one in the mail within two weeks of your event or of receiving the person’s card or gift. You want the recipient to remember what he or she sent you, after all! 

Where Can I Get a Card?

After you decide that you need to send a thank-you note to someone, it’s time to find the right card. Between the internet, your local stationery store, and maybe the dusty corners of your desk drawers, your options are endless. While you’ll probably be able to find a thank-you card tailored to your specific need, it may be more cost-effective to purchase blank notes or general stationery on which you can scrawl a number of different messages. This way, you’ll be able to get your notes written for any occasion that comes your way, without having to purchase multiple packs of note cards!

How Do I Write a Thank-You Note?

Now that you’ve got the perfect note card, you need to plan out what will actually go inside of it. If you’re really stumped, search for and read through some sample thank-you notes to get you in the writing groove. Overall, here are a few points to remember when penning that message of gratitude.

Set the Tone

Consider the level of formality of your note, and make sure you stay consistent throughout. If you threw a fun, casual party and want to thank people for attending, you can keep your message light and your words breezy. But if your note needs to thank interviewers who may offer you a job, stick to more formal language, such as opening with “Dear,” and closing with “Best wishes,” or “Regards.”

Speak from the Heart

Not sure what to say in the body of your message? Bring up what you loved about the gift, or about the time you spent with that person. Feel free to include jokes, fond remembrances, or plans for the future in your more casual notes. When in doubt, bring up something you have in common with the recipient, and how his or her gift or attendance at your event touched you.      

Keep Things Simple

While a script isn’t necessary for a thank-you note, it can be helpful when writing to people you don’t know very well, such as a distant relative. When writing in response to a gift, you really only need to include three sentences in your note: a “thank you for the gift” and a brief two-sentence explanation of how or when you look forward to using it. If the present was a gift card or money, mention something that you’ve had your eye on that you can’t wait to purchase with their thoughtful gift!

Impress Interviewers

Writing thank-you notes after an interview can be challenging, particularly as you won’t know your interviewers very well. Keep things short and sweet by thanking them for taking the time to interview you, reminding them of any relevant topics you enjoyed discussing, and letting them know you’d be happy to provide any further information if necessary.

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