Thank You Notes: My Etiquette Take on a Post Office Sign (February 2014)
By Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC

As soon as I saw the slogan last year, I knew it was a newsletter article:

Brighten Someone's Mailbox Instead of their Inbox

Actually I would suggest it should have said:

Brighten Someone's Mailbox Instead of Cluttering Their Inbox.

I missed getting a picture of this slogan in the fall so here I am despite dog park coat and snow boots!

Part of my inspiration to want to use the display slogan is because a year and a half ago one of my only two physical birthday cards was from a public relations colleague! Just last week I received two thank you notes from my great nephew and niece and it was heartwarming.

When was the last time you received a nice note in your physical mailbox that wasn't a bill or ad? And how did that make you feel? Do you feel like you get overwhelmed with too much email sometimes?

I am always encouraging my clients to send handwritten thank you notes for interviews and networking meetings. (Yes, even instead of the polished Send Out Cards greetings, but those are very nice and far better than email.) It may seem like a lost art, but that is what can help you stand out and personalize relationships.

And I recently learned that this position is now a bit controversial and the landscape is changing.


Upon reflecting on the two Accountemps surveys, I wonder if it is just about the changing times or about who was asked the question. Perhaps an HR manager (2012) doesn't want the extra piece of paper, but the executive (2007) would value the extra, more personal effort? When something is rare the values goes up. You stand out and show you took more time, effort and even money to go the extra nine yards.

More on Business Etiquette:

Even Emily Post's site reminds us that a thank you note should always be offered, but the method can vary. Click here for a good article about which communication styles are best for a range of business etiquette situations.

More on the Job Search:

The 2012 Accountemps survey showed that 91% of respondents liked being thanked by candidates. A 2011 CareerBuilder survey noted that 22% hiring managers said they would be less likely to hire a candidate who did not send a thank you. If you learn that the hiring decision will be made quickly or the recruiter is on the road, definitely send an email thank you note, and consider following-up with a handwritten note.

BOTTOM LINE: Send a thank you note regardless of the format (except avoid texts)! And do so ideally within 24-48 hours. By the way, sometimes I DO email thank you's too!!


©2014, Litzinger Career Consulting. Permission granted to reprint this article so long as the text and by-line are not changed and reprinted intact with all links made live.
Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC, owner of Litzinger Career Consulting, provides career counseling, job search advising, outplacement consulting, and business etiquette training. More information is available at