(Originally published on Sodexo USA Careers Blog)
Did you know that the use of thank you notes can be traced all the way back to early Chinese and Egyptian cultures? Friendship and good luck notes were often written on papyrus paper as early as the 1400s. Later, the Europeans began hand delivering social notes or greeting cards to friends and family. In 1856, Pouis Prang, a German immigrant, brought greeting cards and thank you notes to America.
Are Thank You Notes Necessary?
Many candidates wonder if they even have to send a thank you note after a phone screen and after an interview. The short answer is no, you really don’t. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd, if you want to show the integrity of your actions and abilities, if you want to build a relationship with those you interact with during the hiring process … yes, you need to send a thank you note. And, you need to send one to each person you meet along the way.
What to say?
Sometimes when you sit down to write a thank you note, your thoughts flow easily and the words spill onto the page quickly. But if you’re not sure what to say, here is an easy template to get you started:
Dear Person A,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me about position X. I enjoyed meeting with you and was excited to learn that this opportunity would allow me to use my [list one or two skills]. I believe that my experience in [list one skill or key relevant experience] will be an asset to Sodexo. I look forward to hearing more from you about the possibility of joining your team.
As you can see, thank you notes can be relatively short and sweet.
Modern Thank You Notes
Today, thank you notes are still often hand written. However the surge of technology has led to thank you notes sent via e-mail and text message.
While there is a time and a place for the electronic thank you – say, a quick text message after the interview to say, “Great meeting you today. Look forward to hearing more!” or an e-mail that provides additional information or asks further questions – the handwritten card still carries significance over its electronic cousin.
The mere effort of sending a thank you is considered good manners. Nevertheless, Cristiano Magni, a New York fashion publicist, points out the value of the handwritten note:
“It is so important, in a digital world, to have the dignity to sit down and write something in your own hand. It not only strengthens the bond between people in your personal life and business, it also rings an emotional chord,” said Magni.
Making that human connection can be extremely important during the hiring process. Sending a personal, sincere and handwritten thank you note can be an important step in building a relationship with the recruiter or hiring manager, setting you up for future success and opportunities.