Everyone likes to know that they are appreciated. In the world of post-graduate programs and job searches, there is an art to expressing your gratitude. Candidates who send a prompt and appropriate thank you demonstrate their poise and good manners to a graduate program or employer. There are three types of situations when you should write a thank you:

1. As a follow-up to an interview. You should express your thanks and reiterate a few of your desirable qualities. Candidates should send a thank you letter to all interviewers within 24 hours after the interview that will remind them who you are and when you met. Be concise and confident while exuding enthusiasm and sincerely expressing your gratitude for the interview opportunity. Don’t forget to tell them that you still want the job! Check out the examples of thank you letters available on the Career Center website:

http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/student_dean/career/coverletter/thankyou.shtml

2. To express gratitude for a recommendation letter or reference. Be sure to write sincere thank you notes to professors and supervisors who have served as a reference or write a recommendation letter. Write a note at the time they agree to help you out and also when you get accepted into a program or secure the job.

3. Whenever someone does you a favor. Get into the habit of sending thank you notes frequently. Make sure that they express genuine thanks. The Vault Guide to Schmoozing recommends keeping a box of blank cards and sticky notes on your desk. This will allow you to jot down messages reminding yourself who you should thank as soon as you remember a good deed done. Send the notes promptly.

You may think that “it’s the thought that counts,” but the quality of the thank you note can make a big impression. Use high quality, professional stationery for a thank you letter. Any thank you cards should be conservative and professional. (Save the cute kitten cards or silly sayings for Aunt Ruth.) If you are handwriting the card, make sure that it is legible. Let the ink dry before closing the card – this will prevent sloppy-looking smudges. From the body of the letter to the stationery, a thank you note or letter can make or break your professional image.