Showing a gesture of gratitude can make a more significant impact than one might think. Despite living in an era that seems to thrive predominantly on impersonal electronic and terse Internet-focused communication, the art of writing a thank you letter remains to sway recipients.

If you want to know how to write a thank you letter, you've come to the right place.

The art of writing a thank you letter is thankfully not dead. Whether it's in response to acing a job interview and being selected for a job, or after receiving a gift from a friend or stranger, you will want to send a thank you letter.

Keeping things short and sweet is best, and handwriting a thank you letter with neat penmanship adds a personalized touch. If your handwriting is not as clean and legible as you would like, it is perfectly fine to type out a thank you letter, always make sure to sign it at the bottom. It is also permissible to purchase a thank you card that has been produced for such occasions and let the personalized message inside do the talking.

If you feel intimidated about how to write a thank you letter, there are plenty of templates, and examples of successful thank you letters for helping you get started.

When Is A Thank You Letter Is Appropriate

First off, before spending the time to send a thank you letter, you should know whether it is appropriate to take such action. In most cases, a token of genuine appreciation and gratitude is valued by the recipient. However, there are specific occasions when a thank you letter should be sent.

  • Someone has done a kind deed or favor for you
  • You received a birthday gift, wedding present, or gift when ill
  • You want to let someone know how much they are appreciated and have some great stationery

In some instances, if you have already told the giver of a gift thank you, sending a thank you note is optional. However, if someone gives you a donation, wedding gift, congratulatory gift, or get well soon gift, you are expected to follow up with a thank you note.

Although sending messages via email, text, or even engaging in a video chat is common, they are not as warmly received as the old-fashioned thank you note.

Feel free to invest in some quality stationery for making thank you notes, or buying mass produced thank you cards with a blank inside is fine.

If you are unable to send a handwritten thank you note, then a typed one will suffice. Emailing a digital thank you note should be the last option, and should honestly not be considered.

In the following events, it is essential to show graciousness and good manners by sending a thank you note.

  • If a gift is received in the mail
  • Sympathy gifts for a loss, flowers, or a gift of congratulations should be honored with a letterhead
  • Bridal shower gifts, baby shower gifts, and other gifts given to celebrate and honor
  • After being treated by a boss, or staying as a houseguest for a little while, it's time to write a letter

Sending a thank you letter is such an easy task to accomplish, and should not be overlooked for its impact on intrapersonal relationships. A thank you letter should not be lamented as a chore to carry out but should be seen as just as powerful a gesture as the gift itself.

When it comes to children receiving gifts, it is best that parents instill the value of sending a thank you letter as soon as possible. No matter the age of a child, learning early the importance of showing thanks and respecting someone's generosity and kindness matter.

Keep a thank you letter to a minimum of one page at the most, as there is no need to carry on for ages. The most critical points of a good letter are to send it earlier than later, use proper titles in regards to the name, mention the gift or thoughtfulness of the recipient, and use a heartfelt ending with a signature. Whenever possible, handwritten letters are valued above typed letters.

If you feel your handwriting skills could use some improvement, make an effort.

Choose Your Letter Format


If you wish to impress when sending a thank you letter, it is better to avoid any time of digital messaging.

Old-school handwritten notes on personalized letterhead or a genuine, touching message written inside a card will not fail to make an impression.

If you are unsure of how to begin your thank you letter, look for sample letters online and offline.

You can't go wrong by starting with a salutation, making sure to address the recipient correctly. Unless someone permits you to be informal and use a nickname, use honorific titles when addressing recipients.

There's no need to be super longwinded when writing your thank you letter. However, you want to add a few key points.

  • Make sure to mention the reason for the thank you letter, i.e., the gift given, the donation made, etc.
  • Feel free to let the recipient know how you plan on using the gift or are currently using the gift
  • Use paper that is in good repair, clean, and reflects your personality and taste

Do not use a torn piece of paper ripped out of a notebook. Just because you can send a letter of thanks on an informal sheet of paper, does not mean neglecting the importance of presentation.

If you are not excited or happy about the gift you were given, but still, need to show appreciation, avoid mentioning your disinterest or dislike of a gift. Instead, choose to mention how you are touched by the meaning gesture or say thank you for being so thoughtful. Alleviate any stress, guilt, or pressure, and keep things general, upbeat, and be gracious.

When addressing the recipient of the thank you letter, feel free to mention an extension of warm regards, kindness, or fond thoughts to other family members if involved with the gift.

Timing Of Delivery


One thing that must be stressed when learning about how to write a thank you letter is timeliness of delivery.

The bride and groom who receives gifts for their wedding are expected to send off their thank you letters up to the 6-week mark. Some people are okay with thank you notes being sent up to three months following receipt of a gift, but it is easy for time to get away from people, and a note never being sent.

When in doubt, it is best to send out a thank you note within two to three days if possible, just so there is no procrastination. Up to a week or two passing by before sending a letter is acceptable.

If someone is sending a thank you letter for well-wishes and gifts during an illness, it is best to send a thank you letter as soon as they are well enough to do so.

There are certain scenarios where a thank you letter is not necessary, but the gesture would still be appreciated.

If you received a birthday gift and opened the present in front of the gift-giver if you extended a verbal appreciation,  you don't have to give a thank you letter, but it would be nice.

After attending a dinner party, having a friend help you out with errands, or to a company representative that entertained you to improve business ties, a thank you letter is not mandatory but appreciated.

If procrastination does interfere with sending out a thank you note within two to six weeks time, it is better to send a thank you note late, than to not send one at all.

Impact Of Sending A Thank You Letter

There is something about handling a handwritten thank you note, or printed card with a message, that cannot compare to a digital greeting card or email. Humans still enjoy employing their hands, eyes, and emotions when directly handling a tangible object, such as fine stationery or a handwritten note mailed through the post.

Emails are convenient, and digital cards are equally so. There is still something so impersonal about sending more technologically advanced forms of communication, even if it potentially saves on paper.

A thank you note may end up being a memento that someone treasures for a while if done right. Fine stationery designs, admiring someone's handwriting, and a heartfelt message that is generated from another human being is best.

Sealing The Deal With A Job Offer


One place where the thank you note, or letter has not lost its power, is the workplace.

Unfortunately, according to sources like Forbes,  candidates who fail to make use of a thank you letter after having a favorable job interview may end up losing to the competition. Sending a thank, you note to a potential employer after a positive interaction and offer for a job shows gratitude.

When offering employees to handle major clients, work with substantial budgets, and represent a company, gratitude is a quality that is highly valued. Knowing the importance of small gestures that strengthen intrapersonal relationships, and valuing recognizing someone's efforts and generosity does not go unnoticed.

And when it comes to standing out among the competition when vying for a position, standing out for all the right reasons may garner more desirable results.

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