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In a world where kindness seems to have become obsolete, and people always prioritise their selfish needs, it feels nice when someone goes out of their way to help you out. If someone’s actions or words have made you feel good or helped you out of a tricky spot, then it’s only natural that you express your gratitude. After all, gratitude is a virtue that everyone must inculcate into their lives for mental peace and happiness.
You don’t have to make a grand gesture or go out of your way to express your gratitude. Sometimes, writing a simple thank you note goes a long way in acknowledging someone’s action.
Friends, relatives and acquaintances aren’t the only ones who you can send thank you notes whenever you want to appreciate a gesture. These are also used in the professional world to express gratitude to a senior, a colleague, a client, or an interviewer. For example, job interviewees are often encouraged to write a professional thank you note to the employer after a job interview to reinforce their enthusiasm for the job.
In the 21st century, where communication via online means has eliminated the soul from human interactions, a handwritten letter goes a long way to express your genuine feelings to the addressee. It also helps you to leave a memorable impression and separates you from the competition in the professional world since handwritten letters are so rare in this digital age.
When you want to write a heartfelt thank you letter to your friends, family, colleagues, business partners, or acquaintances, you need to go through a few preparatory steps. You can’t just tear a page out of your notebook and jot down a rushed thank you, and call it a day. If you want to express your gratitude well, then you must go through the following steps –
First of all, who do you send a thank you letter to? Generally, it is appropriate to send a written thank you note to friends, family members and other loved ones if you’ve been touched by their words or actions. You can also send thank you letters to colleagues, employers, employees, mentors, acquaintances and business partners.
All thank you letters don’t follow the same format. The ones you write to your friends or family are more informal, without any strict formatting rules. However, if you were to write a business letter, you must stick to the formal thank you letter format.
You should always take the recipient of your thank you letter into consideration when selecting the stationary or thank you card. After all, it’s not appropriate to express your thanks to your employer on a piece of torn paper, no matter how genuine your feelings are. While you can choose any stationary for an informal letter, be more considerate of your choice when writing a formal letter.
The final preparatory step is to gather the necessary information that you require to send the thank you letter, such as the recipient’s address. After all, you don’t want to send your letter to the wrong address and have it returned to you.
Once you’ve gone through these basic preparatory steps, you can finally start writing your thank you letter.
As much as you want to express your gratitude to someone, you might hesitate if you don’t know how to write a thank you note. But don’t let that stop you from appreciating someone for their kind gesture. Instead, make the most use of this simple structure and let your letter brighten someone’s day.
Letters of thanks usually begin with a greeting or salutation, like all other letters. However, the framing of this depends on whether you’re addressing the letter to a friend or family member or a business professional.
If you’re writing a formal note of thanks, you can use the following salutation options –
A. Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr./Professor, etc. [Last name]
Dear Mr Anderson, …
Dear Mrs Jones, …
B. Dear [First Name] [Last Name]
Dear Tom Jones, …
Dear Anita Brian, …
If you’re writing a thank you letter for a friend or a loved one, you can drop the formal tone and take on a more informal approach.
A. Dearest [First Name]
Dearest Taylor, …
Dearest Jonathan, …
B. [First Name]/[Nickname]/[Initials]
The first sentence of your thank you letter must explicitly express your genuine feelings of gratitude and show the recipient that you appreciate their gesture. Some great options that you can look into are –
“I am so grateful that you remembered …”
“I can’t begin to express how much I appreciate your gesture ….”
“I want to thank you for …”
“I am writing to you in order to express my heartfelt appreciation for ….”
“I am so grateful that you gave me the opportunity to ….”
“I hope this letter will be able to convey a tenth of the gratitude I feel ….”
Specifying the reason why you’re sending the thank you letter provides context to the recipient. Suppose your colleague helped you out with a challenging project the previous week. If you want to send them a token of your appreciation, highlight the reason to refresh their memory. Even if it was a small action, the fact that you remembered it and bothered to thank them for it would surely make their day.
Let’s consider the following thank you letter examples to get a better idea:
“Thank you so much for helping me organise the graduation party last week.”
“I would like to express my gratitude for giving me the opportunity to interview for your esteemed company.”
One of the fundamental characteristics of a good thank you letter is its conciseness. When composing the letter, highlight the details of a conversation shared with the recipient. But make sure you don’t go on and on. Sharing minute details will help the recipient remember you, especially if you’ve only conversed briefly before.
“It was enlightening to learn about how the organisation prioritises equality in the workplace. Even though most organisations promote gender equality on paper, their actions do not match their words. So, it was a breath of fresh air to see that your organisation’s policies are so inclusive.”
If you have any additional thoughts you’d like to share or any emotions you’d like to convey, make sure to keep the to the point. This can include some future actions that you’d like to take with the recipient.
“It was a pleasure to work with you. I hope I’ll get to hear from you soon…”
“I’d love to grab some coffee sometime. It’ll be my treat!”
When someone does you a favour, it might seem insignificant to them. But the action might have a huge impact on your life. In that case, don’t forget to highlight the importance of their action and express your gratitude for the same.
“Your guidance was instrumental in helping me complete my dissertation on time.”
“Without your help, I wouldn’t have been able to find the perfect present for my mother on time.”
Finally, end your thank you note by reiterating your gratitude. But don’t lay it on too thick. Your recipient will be able to recognise if you’re expressing your genuine gratitude or trying to get into their good books because of selfish reasons.
“I’m grateful to call you my friend.”
“Thank you so much for sparing some time to lend me a helping hand.”
When concluding your thank you letter, express your gratitude once more. It doesn’t have to be detailed. Be concise and sum up your thoughts in a sentence or two.
“I would like to thank you again for guiding me in the right direction.”
“I’m thankful to have such a wonderful friend.”
Right before you sign off your thank you note, offer the recipient your best wishes for their health, family, or future endeavours.
“I wish you amazing success in your future endeavours.”
“I hope you and your family remain healthy and happy for many years to come.”
When signing off your letter with a closing phrase, make sure you choose an appropriate option depending on the recipient of your letter.
A. Formal signing-off phrase – Sincerely
B. Semi-formal/Social signing off phrase – Regards, Respectfully yours, Best regards, etc.
C. Informal singing off phrase – With love, Yours truly, With affection, Affectionately, etc.
Include your full name below the sign-off phrase for a formal or semi-formal letter. For an informal letter addressed to friends or close family members, you can use your first name or a nickname.
If you want to make your thank you note tug at the recipient’s heartstrings or leave a lasting impression on an employer or business partner, these tips will surely make your job easier.
Conciseness is crucial to writing a thank you letter. Your primary objective is to express your gratitude to the recipient. But if you ramble on instead of remaining focused and highlighting the reasons, you might lose focus on the main issue.
Here’s an example of a concise beginning to a thank you letter –
“I wish to express my gratitude for lending me your valuable notes. It helped me understand more about the project and cleared many of the misunderstandings that I had. I’m really thankful for your assistance.”
When you write thank you notes for business letters, you should always keep your tone in check. Even if you’re expressing your gratitude, you can’t forget that you’re addressing someone in a higher position than you. So, your salutations should always begin with – “Dear Mr./Mrs./Dr./Professor” and end with “Sincerely.” Be respectful and keep the informal language as far away as possible.
Thank you notes that contain spelling and grammatical errors feel rushed and insincere. Even if you’re expressing your gratitude, such letters can leave a bad impression about you on the recipient. So, it’s advisable to run your letter through a proofreading tool to eliminate the chances of error and maintain clarity.
Personal touches like handwritten letters, proper stationery, and the inclusion of specific details of conversations make the thank you letter seem more authentic. You certainly don’t want your letter to read something like your run-of-the-mill letter that you can find in any stationary shop.
Handwritten thank you letters might take some time to write. You can’t correct your mistakes easily, and you have to maintain good handwriting. But despite all that, handwritten letters are more personal and a better alternative than typed letters, especially if you’re sending a note to a loved one. However, if you’re writing an official thank you note to an employer, interviewer or a senior, you can opt for the typed letter.
Including contact information in a thank you letter is optional. If you’re writing an informal letter to your friends or loved ones, you can add your contact details at the end of the letter in case you have a change of address or contact information. But in the case of formal thank you letters, the addition of contact details can increase trustworthiness.
Thank you letter for a job interview
[Your Email ID]
[Name of Recipient]
[Job title of Recipient]
[Address of the organisation]
Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss [Last Name of the Recipient],
[Your Full Name]
Thank you letter to a customer
Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss [Last Name of the Customer]
[Your Full Name]
Greetings/Dear/Dearest [First Name/Nickname of the Recipient],
Yours lovingly/With love/Affectionately,
[Your First Name/Nickname]
The thank you letter samples provided here are just simple guidelines that you can follow if you wish. However, there’s no strict rule stating that you must follow these at all costs. You can personalise your letter as you see fit.
If you’re sending a thank you letter to an interviewer, consider waiting for at least 24-48 hours before writing your letter or sending an email. But if you’re addressing a thank you letter to a friend or loved one, you don’t have to rush it. Take your time to note down your heartfelt feelings. After all, a late thank you note is better than none at all.
If you’re on a time limit to send your thank you letter, the best option is to type it out and send it via email. But there’s no personal touch to such letters. A handwritten letter is a better alternative if you want to leave a better impression on the recipient. In that case, postal services or private couriers are the best delivery method.
When addressing the envelope, always mention the following –
As long as you mention these details, the chances of your letter getting lost in transit are reduced.
If you’ve mentioned in a thank you letter that you’d get in touch with the recipient soon, DO NOT forget to follow up on the action. Leaving someone hanging like that would only leave a bitter taste in their mouth.
In a world where people’s kindness is taken for granted, a simple thank you note can go a long way to express heartfelt gratitude. It shows the recipient that you have gone out of your way to sincerely appreciate their efforts. In fact, a handwritten thank you letter speaks volumes and sends the message that you care enough about the recipient to personally write a letter by hand just to express your gratitude.
Even though thank you letters might seem cliché or a small gesture, it is a great way to network in the professional world as well. Sending a thank you letter to the interviewer after appearing for a job interview sets you apart from the crowd and leaves a good impression. It is also a great way to maintain cordial relationships with colleagues.
Remember, sending a thank you letter will never go unappreciated. Emails can be deleted, but handwritten thank you notes carry a sentiment that remains in one’s heart forever.