16 – Applications

Thank-You Letters

Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt

After an individual does you a favor, it is considered polite in United States culture to respond with a written note expressing your gratitude. Common scenarios where you might write a thank-you note include when a professor or boss agrees to write you a letter of recommendation, your relatives send you a present for your birthday or graduation, or after a hiring manager has met with you for an interview. By sending a short, personal message that thanks the giver, you show that you value their time, resources, and relationship to you. In job scenarios, the thank-you letter also conveys professionalism by showing your ability to follow-up on tasks and be courteous to your future co-workers.

Thank-You Letter Format

Most thank-you letters follow a basic format, though you may vary or add content based on the event and your audience. Below is the standard format for most thank-you letters and notes.

  1. Salutation
  2. Statement of thanks for the specific favor or gift.
  3. Statement of personal connection between the giver and the recipient.
  4. Statement of desire to connect personally again.
  5. Repeated, short statement of thanks.
  6. Signature

With close family and friends, you usually do not need to be so formal. A text message, direct message, or phone call expressing thanks is often more than sufficient (and more personal) than an email. However, the more distant the family member or acquaintance, you may opt for more formality by sending a handwritten thank-you card by mail.

As a job hunter, you will compose a thank-you letter typically after each interview stage. This message is usually sent via email or whatever channel you have already established for communication within 48 hours of the interview. In your message, be sure to indicate your continued interest in the position or state if you have decided to take another job offer elsewhere. Below, in Figure 16.7,[1] is a sample thank-you message.

This image shows a typical thank-you letter as it should appear on the page. Click the link at the end of the caption for an accessible PDF of this information.
Figure 16.7. Interview thank-you letter sample. (Alternative PDF version: Figure 16.7.)
McKinney, Matt, Kalani Pattison, Sarah LeMire, Kathy Anders, and Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt, eds. Howdy or Hello?: Technical and Professional Communication. 2nd ed. College Station: Texas A&M University, 2022. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

 


  1. Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt, “Interview Thank-You Letter Sample,” 2020. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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