Thoughts on Thank You Letters

I have a different opinion and a lot of thoughts on the importance of follow-up / thank you letters. Let me start with a specific incident that occurred for one of my clients:

She was interviewing with my prior boss who was the Director of the College where I used to do job placement. She came to me for a resume and when she told me later that it had earned her the interview with that individual I said, “Now make sure you write a follow up / thank you letter after the interview.” She said she would or that she would have me do it. Well, I didn’t hear from her for a few months. In the interim I had dinner with my ex-boss and asked her what the status was. She said, “Well, I liked her, offered her the job and she starts next week. But, I have to tell you, she never bothered to send me a thank you letter. I really thought she was more professional than that and I’m wondering if I misjudged her. I expected more froma professional.”

WOW, I thought. Not only did this person expect a thank you letter but she was now drawing negative conclusions about the person before she even started the job. Not the best way to start out on the right foot in a new job. At the very least she could have written a thank you / acceptance letter. This would have covered the thank you as well as cemented a clear understanding of what the offer entailed with both parties.

So, starting there, I’ll try not to write a book on my thoughts / approach on these letters:

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