THANK YOU (the note)

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Given my career, I interview on average 200 people a year in a 1:1 conversation (formerly in person, now mostly video). I also do informational interviews for people seeking a job change or growth.

How many thank you notes did I get in the past 12 months? Hand-written ones? 12. I save them.

Obviously more people do electronic notes (email, text, social media messaging) these days, but anecdotally, I maybe have 25-35 of those. Over half the people I interview do not express thanks for the opportunity to discuss a certain role. Shockingly, to me, the same applies when I introduce candidates to clients (1:1 or in a board discussion)…again, few thank you notes are sent. While I might be seen as a gatekeeper, when you interview with a Hiring Manager or Board of Directors – why aren’t you thanking them for their time?

Two of my mentors drilled the importance of thank you notes into my head early in my career. There is one speaker I heard many times while in college and then at the beginning my career, and his advice was: Carry around index cards in your suit pocket and write down 5 memorable words from every networking interaction, and send 25 thank you notes every Saturday morning. (Today that could be voices messages to self, or Notes on your phone, but the idea behind the advice remains the same.) I will admit I was much better at it 10-15 years ago than I am today, but I still write notes to acknowledge moments and interactions that truly move me and add a distinct memory of importance.

I write thank you notes to:

  • Team members (past and current) when I want to express my gratitude for a particularly meaningful interaction.
  • Former bosses to articulate how something they taught me is coming to bear in my life today.
  • People I’ve not seen in a while but that helped me at some point in my career.
  • Speakers where I’ve been in an audience of 250+. (And some write me back!)
  • Board members of our client partners. Their job is hard…they do it out of free will because they have a passion for the mission and want to make a difference. Serving on a board can often be a thankless job.

As the job market continues to change, the thank you note you write (or don’t) may be the thing that distinguishes you from the rest of the candidate pool. And most importantly – it’s a thoughtful thing to do.


PS – THANK YOU mom, for making me write thank you notes as soon as I learned to write letters…back oh, 40+ some years ago. 🙂