After the guide to regular, personal thank-you notes in this entry, someone asked how business thank-you notes should be different. EXCELLENT QUESTION!
Obviously, the tone of a letter you write to someone who may or may not want to give you a job is different than the tone you use to write to Grandma Mary. Thank-you notes are appropriate (though not mandatory) in many business situations. You can send them after meeting someone at a conference or out and about or wherever. Thank-you notes for interviews (both job and informational) are not optional. They are mandatory. At least if you want the job.
So. Here’s a sample one for a job interview, followed by a breakdown:
It was such a pleasure to get to meet you and the other members of the Leopold-Ketel team the other day. I really enjoyed our conversation (particularly the tangent about Myers-Briggs type), and so appreciate your taking the time to meet with me.
I know you have a lot of candidates for your copywriter position, but I’ll reiterate anyway how excited I would be for this opportunity. It would be wonderful to work with all of you, and I hope you’ll sincerely consider me for the position.
Kelly Williams Brown
I’ve heard different things about whether handwritten or typed letters are best for this kind of thing. I usually send hand-written, but if your handwriting is truly atrocious (no shame!) you may want to just type and print one, using a simple business letter format.
For the “Hey, we met, thank you for talking to me even though you are important and I am not”-sort of letters, use a similar format but eliminate the job-specific references. It was great to meet them; you especially enjoyed chatting about X, you hope your paths cross again soon.
Only sort of related postscript: Someone else asked what to say in thank-you notes for money or giftcards. I think you still start by saying how kind/generous it was of them, saying something nice about what you spent it on (assuming you didn’t use it to pay your cell phone bill, or what-have-you) and thanking them simply at the end. If you can remember to email, a few days later, a picture of you wearing your wonderful new whatever, well, that is bonus points.