Every thank you note should include this sentence
An interview without a thank-you note is like a sundae without a cherry on top. Craft a follow-up that leaves a great impression.
There are many occasions for sending a professional thank-you note: after a job interview, if someone does you a favor, if someone hosts you in their office—the list goes on. Regardless of the reason, though, there are certain elements you should always include.
This one sentence (or some version of it) should be in every thank-you note you send: “Thank you for making time for me, and I look forward to our next meeting.”
By using this sentence, you’re conveying two important points. One, that you understand someone’s time is valuable, and two, that you want the relationship to continue.
“Always share your appreciation for the person’s time, regardless of the outcome of the meeting,” says Angelina Darrisaw, founder of C-Suite Coach, a career-coaching platform based in New York City. Especially during the busy holidays, taking time out of their schedule to talk to you may have been a sacrifice.
Additionally, Darrisaw says, it’s important to indicate that you want the relationship to continue. This way, the person you’re thanking has an understanding of your expectations, and they can move forward as they see fit.
Here is how to customize a thank-you note for three separate professional instances that would require one—and where and how you can squeeze in that one magical sentence.
Thank you for a job interview
After a job interview, you want your thank-you note to show gratitude and give the interviewer something to remember you by. It’s your chance to reinforce that you are still interested in the job.
Every thank-you note should be personalized. People can usually tell if it’s a recycled, generic statement. When you write your line thanking the interviewer for their time and telling them you look forward to another meeting, include something specific about your encounter to show that the time spent with them was valuable, says Anthony Pensabene, digital marketing associate with Evolving SEO.
“Each engagement is unique, so reinforcing the other person's memory and making them not only remember you, but specific events with you, increases the likelihood the person will remember both,” Pensabene says. “Simply thanking the person is not only expected, but it's never going to stand out, or be the 'purple cow' in the bunch.”
You say: Thank you for making time to meet with me to discuss the strategic initiatives you’re pursuing. I’m impressed that you were able to snag that Fortune 50 company as a client, and I’d love to put my skills to work in supporting that project.
Thank you for a professional favor
If someone does you a favor, such as write a letter of recommendation for you, show your appreciation and offer to reciprocate.
“The essential sentence I always end with is, ‘I look forward to staying in touch,’” says Sonia Lakhany, an attorney specializing in intellectual property law in Atlanta who says she sends a lot of thank-you notes. “That lets the recipient know that I intend for it to be an ongoing relationship and not a one-time exchange.”
Another way to show your appreciation and keep the option open for an ongoing relationship is to say, “Please let me know if I can ever do the same for you,” suggests Beth Bridges, author of Networking on Purpose and founder of The Networking Motivator.
“Whether it’s done as a thank you or done to keep the relationship going, you always want to look for opportunities to give back—or forward—to those who’ve helped you,” Bridges says.
You say: Thank you for taking the time to write me such a great letter of recommendation. I start work there next Monday. Let me know how I can return the favor.
Thank you for professional advice
When thanking someone, such as a mentor, for giving you advice, you want the person to know that you value their opinion and take their advice seriously.
Reference something you talked about, whether it was something you had in common or a funny story from your conversation, Lakhany says.
Again, it’s important to remember that someone went out of their way to help you out, even if it was as simple as offering a bit of advice. Acknowledge that in your note—a favor, no matter how small, is still a favor.
You say: Thank you for taking the time to discuss my career options with me. I hadn’t considered the impact that grad school would have on my longer-term goals. I’ll let you know what I decide.
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