How to write a thank you note

Everyone loves getting something in the mail. Whether the mail be your mailbox at home, at work or even something left on your desk.

A thank you card is the perfect opportunity to send somebody something in the mail and is an appropriate way to show your appreciation after occasions like:

  • a job interview
  • when you receive a gift (that isn’t a promotional item)
  • when someone is helpful either personally or professionally

Pick out stationary that you like but also is appropriate to the individual you’ll be sending it to. Like human beings, it’s what’s on the inside that counts so don’t fret over the particular font on the front of the card.

There are five main areas to consider when writing a thank you note.

1. The Greeting

A common suggestion is to imagine yourself greeting this person as would after not having seen them for a while preceded by the word “Dear.” For someone you have a comfortable relationship with a comma is fine. For someone more formal or you don’t know as well, use a colon.

Dear Jim,

Dear Ms. Smith:

2. Thank them for what they did

Get right to the point here and avoid starting with “I’m writing to say thank you,” as it is very clear you’re writing. Thank them for what they did for you.

  • Thank you for the lovely sweater
  • Thank you for hosting my family for dinner
  • Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the clerk position
  • Thank you for the donation to the Humane Society on my behalf

3. Tell them what it means to you

When you receive a physical gift, let the person know how you’re going to use it. The lovely sweater could include a line like “Later this month I’m heading away for the weekend and the sweater will be perfect for evenings by the lake. I can hardly wait to sit on the dock with it keeping me warm.”

If the thanks is for something intangible like a donation or an information interview thank them by telling them what their gesture means to you. “I was touched by the donation to the Humane Society, as you may know I have volunteered there for five years and it means a lot for you to support a cause close to my heart.” Or “The information you shared with me is so valuable and I can hardly wait to put your suggestions into action.”

4. Look to the future

Tell them you hope to continue the relationship in the future. Consider something like:

  • I’m looking forward to the next time we have the opportunity for dinner
  • Next time you’re coming to town, please let me know so I can return the gesture
  • I hope to hear from you soon regarding the position, I feel we could be a good fit

5. The signature

Keep it neat, clean and professional. Here are some suggestions:

Thanks again,


And that’s it. If you’re new to writing thank you notes consider taking a few runs not on the card before you commit it to paper. And under no circumstances should you send anything but a handwritten note and avoid at all costs an email. Nothing says “thank you,” less than an email sent from your bed while you watch reruns of Twin Peaks at 3 a.m..

Photo by Sharyn Morrow