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A Defense of the Humble Thank You Note

Just by scrolling through your email account, you’d most likely agree that the most commonly used form of business communication is email. A study done by The Radicati Group, a technology research firm, estimated that in 2015 there were 205 billion emails sent and received worldwide per day. Whether those emails were reminders for board meetings or quick jokes sent between co-workers, there’s no question that email has become a technological staple in the business world.

With email becoming the norm, some may say that handwritten letters and notes only belong in history books. While composing a thank you email may be quicker and easier, taking the time to write a handwritten thank you note may be more beneficial to your career. While it may feel awkward or overly ambitious to write someone a personalized note, Time magazine cited research conducted at the University of Texas that showed that thank you notes boost the mood of both the recipient and the writer and are a great way to express gratitude. Furthermore, Forbes magazine also praised handwritten notes as an excellent way to set yourself apart in the business world.

So how does one write that perfect thank you note? Something to be mindful of is that it does not have to be incredibly wordy or eloquently written but can be written much the same as an email. A few sentences containing a brief greeting or introduction, the reason why you are thankful, and a closing line are more than enough to convey a proper thanks to the recipient. Short notes are perfect to send to professional associates, former internship or job supervisors, or even interviewers who you want to maintain a professional relationship with. However, thank you notes also give the writer more freedom to express emotion than emails do. Consider if your collegiate advisor, who you’ve had a long-standing relationship with, connected you with someone who helped you land your dream job. A thank you note would allow you to express your gratitude more fully in a personalized manner.

Another point of consideration for thank you notes is that spelling and grammar matter. While the occasional typo or misspelled word are easily overlooked in an email, they stick out like a sore thumb in a handwritten note. Writing slowly and legibly in addition to keeping a print or online dictionary handy are ways of avoiding potential grammatical mistakes. If you’re not confident in your writing abilities, you may even consider typing what you’re going to write into an online document first and copying it into the note after you’ve had it spellchecked and proofread.

While they may not be the main form of communication anymore, handwritten notes certainly haven’t gone out of style. Not only do they say thank you, but they also show that the writer is thoughtful enough to take time out of their day to go the extra mile. Emojis and GIFs may be great, but a handwritten thank you note says far more than a 😊emoji ever could.