Whether you’re job searching, brushing up on professional skills, or considering a sector switch, you’re probably engaging in countless interactions that warrant a show of appreciation.
Perhaps you received a job lead and a pep talk from a former colleague, or maybe you had an informational interview with someone who has become a mentor. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a family member who’s your biggest fan. Whatever the situation, one way to show your gratitude is by simply writing a thank-you note. Read on for five thank-you letter examples and templates, and a little more on gratitude, too!
Why gratitude matters
Before getting into writing your thank-you letters, let’s talk about gratitude and its benefits not just for the recipient, but for you as the “giver of thanks” as well.
Showing gratitude is a great way to clear your mind when you are feeling overwhelmed. After moving at top speed or going through the motions for a prolonged period, slowing down to contemplate how those around you add value to your life can be a salve. Defining who you are thankful for (and why) is a proactive exercise not only in considering and appreciating your network, but in gratitude and self-care, as well.
According to studies by Robert Emmons and others, gratitude’s physical, psychological, and emotional perks include:
- Stronger immune system and lower blood pressure
- More joy and pleasure, more optimism and happiness
- More forgiving and outgoing outlook, less lonely and isolated feelings
For these reasons, we suggest finding more opportunities to say thank you; no need to reserve your gratitude just for after a job interview or at an annual review. Here are some situations worthy of a note of thanks, as well as some examples of how to put it in writing:
The trusty “job lead” friend
Do you have that friend who’s always in-the-know about the latest job openings, even customizing what they send based on your interests and a strong understanding of your abilities? A thank-you note is a great way to show appreciation and also let them know they are really on the mark with their suggestions. Try a note like this:
I just wanted to share how much the job leads you send mean to me. The attention you pay to the details of each opportunity is clear, because what you pass along always seems to match not only my interests but my abilities, too! What you do is so motivating and keeps me energized and positive in my job search. To know that you consider me able to do [SKILL] and [SKILL] builds my confidence and keeps me applying for more jobs where my [SKILL] skills can really shine. I truly appreciate that you’ve taken such an interest in my job search and am grateful for the way you’ve stepped in as my personal “career sleuth!”
Why this works: In addition to expressing your appreciation, you are affirming that what is being sent is helpful and that if they continue sending leads, they are on the right track.
The informational interviewee-turned-mentor
Did you ask someone for an informational interview who accepted and ultimately took you under their wing? Maybe they went above and beyond to keep the conversation going, shared great resources, or invited you to an event attended by key hiring managers in your field. Here’s an example of how you can show your gratitude:
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your career in [AREA OF EXPERTISE/ISSUE AREA] over the last few weeks. I learned so much about [TOPIC] and [TOPIC], and will be sure to check out what you shared with me. I am so appreciative of not only the way you have taken me under your wing after our first meeting, but your continued generosity with your time and resources. The interest that you show in my success and development is something for which I feel very grateful.
Please know that my offer to assist with your [TOPIC/ISSUE AREA] project still stands. If my skills are not the best match, I’m happy to pass along the message to my contacts in an effort to find a great volunteer!
Why this works: In addition to showing gratitude, you are offering to assist your mentor. If your skills are not an appropriate match, a willingness to tap into your networks is a great alternative!
The “biggest fan” family member
Many of us have a family member who has earned the title “biggest fan.” In their eyes, no challenge is so insurmountable that we can’t overcome it, and our accomplishments are always worthy of celebration. Here’s an example of how to express your gratitude:
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the support you’ve shown me throughout my career, particularly during [PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE OR ACHIEVEMENT].
You’ve always been someone I could call my biggest fan; sometimes, it seems like you remember my achievements even better than I do myself!
I appreciate your ability to see how my talents can make a difference, and you’ve made me a believer too! After a chat with you, I feel more confident and capable, and for that I will always be grateful.
Why this works: Keeping it warm and appreciative is a great way to strengthen familial bonds. It expresses not just appreciation, but also some details on just how much your biggest fan has impacted your well-being and confidence. When they know it’s working, they are more likely to keep it up!
The “saved the day” colleague
Whether you’re grappling with a workplace issue or you’ve been digging around for the most cost-effective way to complete a project, support from a colleague can make a big difference. When a co-worker saves the day, try a note like this:
When you found me sitting at my desk tapping a pen last week, you could have just walked on by and left me to my [NAME YOUR OBSTACLE/CHALLENGE]. Instead, you pulled over a seat and went right to work with me! I can’t thank you enough for not only your teamwork and support, but for your vote of confidence; you really helped me overcome the issue. I truly appreciate the way you used your own insights to develop a really seamless solution that provides benefits all around!
Knowing now how your team tackles [ISSUE/CHALLENGE], I’m happy to compare notes the next time the issue arises so we can achieve similar success.
Why this works: Positive interactions with colleagues allow for a more supportive relationship that helps everyone thrive. While your co-worker probably stepped in without any expectations, always take an opportunity to see your organization and its work from the perspective of another department—maybe even identify a way that you can provide insights for that area.
The “just lets me vent” friend
This person knows that talking it out may be all you need. No unsolicited ideas or solutions, brainstorming sessions, or “I told you so's." This friend simply allows you to vent and work out your feelings. When you’re ready to express feelings—namely, gratitude—of a different kind, try this:
When you asked me how things were going yesterday, you may not have known exactly what you were in for! After letting me talk for nearly an hour about [CURRENT ISSUE IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE], I wanted to express my appreciation. The sympathetic way you listened without going into “solution mode” was just what I needed. I really felt heard and understood; you have a rare gift for that!
Thank you not only for being there, but for giving me exactly what I needed at the time. I can now say that after thinking “out loud," I feel ready to tackle this issue, head-on. Thank you!
Why this works: This note shows that in addition to being appreciative of the person’s time and attention, you are ready to take whatever next step you two may have discussed. People are more inclined to help out in the way you need them to when they feel like it makes a true, lasting difference.
As you move through your career journey, take note of all the people who have helped you along the way. When you start noticing the small (or big) acts they’ve had a hand in, you’ll realize that a large part of your career wins are made possible because of the support you receive from your network.
Taking a moment to express your gratitude through a thank-you letter isn't just a courtesy; it's a powerful tool that can nurture relationships, cultivate goodwill, and open the door for future opportunities.