I have talked many times about thank you notes. Whenever you meet with someone, i.e. a client, a potential employer, or a person that is going to get you a new client, you need to send them a thank you note. Since I am a Gen Yer and have grown up with the internet and email readily available at my finger tips, sending a handwritten thank you note has always been foreign to me. In fact, I can’t say that I have ever done it. I prefer to thank people via email. Some people are more old school and think that handwriting a thank you note is more personal and will be more appreciated, but I beg to differ.
Jessica Liebman, Managing Editor of Business Insider, begs to differ too. When asked the question of whether a handwritten thank you note or an emailed thank you note should be sent she said, “I’d strongly suggest going with the email.” Liebman’s suggestion is based on the fact that there are many dangers associated with the handwritten thank you note.
First, if you write a handwritten thank you note there is a delay in the recipient receiving the note. Liebman prefers receiving thank you notes within twenty-four hours of an interview, “while you’re still fresh in the interviewer’s mind.” For me I always find it hard to remember people’s names in general but especially when I am interviewing, so imagine what an interviewer thinks when they receive your handwritten letter five days after the interview. “Who is this girl?” is what they will probably say. Getting it to them as soon as possible ensures that they will remember you and the interview.
Second, the letter may never actually reach your interviewer. The letter could get lost in the mail, delivered to someone else by mistake, or thrown in the trash by the secretary. With email you can ensure that the thank you note will land in their inbox. Whether or not they read it is an entirely different thing.
Third, Liebman says that a handwritten letter “seems old.” I would recommend taking into consideration the type of industry you are interviewing for. If you are interviewing for a social media job, a tech job, or some sort of advertising job, make sure you keep with the times. As Liebman says, “It’s 2012.”
Fourth, the interviewer is less likely to write back to you if your note is handwritten. While some of you might not care about this, I would argue that it is important to hear back from those people you interviewed with. When I interviewed for my current job I went home that night and sent out email thank you’s. Almost instantly some of the people I had interviewed with wrote me back telling me how wonderful it was to meet me. It was comforting for me to receive those emails back because it told me that I had left a big enough impression on them to want to write me back. If I had handwritten a thank you note I would have never received that comfort.
So, the lesson of the day is to send email thank you notes. Have you ever sent an email thank you and received a back reaction?