How to Write a Thank You Letter (With Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

25 August 2020

It is always a good idea to take the time to send a thank you letter to anyone who helped you in one way or another. They are usually written as either a quick email or a formal letter, and your appreciation will leave a positive impact on the recipient either way. Whether you wish to write a thank you letter to your interviewer or to someone who wrote you a recommendation letter, there are stringent guidelines that you will need to follow.

In this article, we explain the basics of writing a thank you note and give you an example thank you letter that you can customise based on your specific situation.

What is a thank you letter?

A thank you letter is a timely and personal note that you can use to convey your appreciation to an individual or organisation. For example, a job applicant can use it to demonstrate their gratitude for an interview and reiterate their qualification and interest in the position. When you send a thank you letter, you leave a positive impression on the recipient. In the case of employment, this can sometimes become a deciding factor for who eventually gets the job. Sending a thank you letter also shows you are thoughtful and professional.

Importance of a thank you letter

Thank you letters show business contacts like potential employers and colleagues that you appreciate their time and are dedicated to maintaining a positive professional relationship. Here are some other benefits a thank you letter provides:

  • It enforces a positive behaviour. For instance, when you thank your instructor for their helpful comments on your thesis, it may reinforce the positive behaviour and propel them to help you more often.

  • It demonstrates that you are respectful. When you conduct business with someone, sending a thank you letter for their time shows respect and courtesy.

  • It demonstrates your empathy. When you express your appreciation through a thank you letter, it justifies that you understand another person's values, beliefs and feelings.

  • It helps you built a rapport with others. One of the best ways to establish a rapport with others is by conveying gratitude for the time and effort they have spent helping you or interacting with you.

Formats for a thank you letter

You can send a thank you letter either as an email or a handwritten note. Here is some more information about both of these formats:

Email

An email thank you letter works best in the following situations:

  • When the company prefers communicating by email

  • If an email has been the dominant means of communication between you and the individual you wish to thank

  • When time is short and the individual has to make a decision very quickly

When sending an email:

  • Consider following up your email with a hard copy version of your message.

  • Add a signature block with your full name, email address, phone number and mailing address.

  • Ensure the email address you use to send the thank you note is professional and appropriate.

  • Make sure you can track and retain a copy of each thank you message you send by keeping copies in your outbox.

Handwritten

Though it takes more time and effort, writing a handwritten thank you letter shows dedication and is more personal. Just remember that a mailed letter can take a few days to get to its recipient.

When using a written format:

  • Use black or blue ink and small professional thank you cards.

  • Keep the thank you note as brief as possible. A few sentences will suffice.

  • Use neat and legible penmanship.

How to write a thank you letter

Follow these steps to write a formal business thank you letter:

  1. Header: The letter should begin with your contact information, followed by that of your recipient. You can include your email, phone number and address as well as your recipient's job title, company name, phone number and email. Follow this with a date. If you are sending an email rather than a handwritten note, you can choose to only include your name and phone number.

  2. Salutation: Address the letter directly to your recipient. Use a formal title, such as Dr, Mr or Ms, followed by their last name, unless you know them on a first-name basis. If you have forgotten their name, consider contacting their office for assistance.

  3. Opening paragraph: Start by immediately letting the reader know why you are writing to them, such as thanking an interviewer for their time. It's important to get right to the point so that you don't waste their time.

  4. Middle paragraphs: As you continue the letter, mention a positive experience you had during your interaction with the individual. Referencing something specific from your meeting or conversation adds a personal touch that leaves a good impression. If you are writing to an interviewer, you'll likely need to include a bit more information than you would in other situations. For example, you should remind them about the position you applied for, the date you came in for an interview and anything important you discussed.

  5. Closing paragraph: Thank the recipient for their time once more. If appropriate, suggest further action when closing the letter, such as by mentioning how and when you will be contacting them next. Include your phone number so that the individual can contact you if needed.

  6. Close: Sign off formally using phrases like 'Best regards' or 'Sincerely'.

  7. Signature: If you are handwriting the letter, end the note with your signature followed by your full name underneath. If you are sending the thank you note via email, type your name and put your contact information below it.

Tips for sending a thank you letter

As you plan to send a thank you letter, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Send a thank you letter right away. You should be sure to send your thank you letter a day or two after interacting with your recipient.

  • Your thank you letter should be error-free. Be sure to proofread, spellcheck and edit your letter before sending it.

  • Personalise your thank you letter. You should personalise your letter as much as possible to show the recipient that you care about your relationship with them and genuinely appreciate their help.

  • Consider the readability of the letter. Use simple and clear language and easy-to-read fonts, such as Arial or Times New Roman in 11-12 point size.

  • Keep it brief. Keep your letter focused and concise. Say thank you in a sincere but brief manner.

  • Sell yourself. If you are writing a thank you letter for an interview, use it as a chance to remind the employer why you are the best fit for the open position and to reaffirm your interest in the company. Provide some new information that you may have forgotten to mention during the interview, and remind them about a valuable qualification that you did discuss. This letter is your last chance to make a strong impression.

Example thank you letter

Here is an example letter you can use as a guide when writing your own:

Kamau Njeru

720 Main Street

Sydney, NSW 2000

+61 7 9010 6067

kamaunjeru@email.com.au

21 May 2020

Logan Kadima

Human Resources Manager

Kandara Holdings Ltd.

+61 3 9389 3470

logankadima@email.com.au

Dear Mr Kadima,

Thank you for taking the time to discuss your company's open sales executive position with me on Monday at Kandara Holdings Ltd. I appreciate the time you took to explain the hiring process to me and how your on-the-job training sessions are organised. It was a pleasure connecting with you, and I learned how energised you were about the firm's marketing and growth goals. Since I am an experienced influencer marketer, I was extremely impressed with your influencer outreach ideas, which sparked some of my own.

After the interview, I wanted to reaffirm my interest in your company and the position. I am confident that my considerable retail experience will prove to be a valuable asset to your sales department. I enjoyed working as a sales executive in my previous workplace, and I believe that I will be an excellent addition to your team. I love to be challenged, and I am intrigued by your innovative training program.

As I mentioned during the interview, my sales numbers at my previous workplace increased by 45% within two years, which put me at the top of the company's sales force last year. By combining your training program with my current experience, I am confident that I will be able to reach the top of your sales force as well.

Thank you once again for taking the time to interview me for your open position, and I look forward to hearing your decision. Let me know if you need any further information from me.

Sincerely,

[Your handwritten signature]

Kamau Njeru

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