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Great advice from The Lawyer Whisperer

March 24, 2017
Question

What does the perfect thank you note look like?

answer
Julie Q. Brush

Sending a thank you note is a must after every meaningful professional encounter. And what may seem like a quick and easy afterthought, the content of the thank you – what you say or don’t say – can play a bigger role than you think. So before you put pen to paper, I recommend that you give the content of your thank you some careful consideration.

There is no secret sauce to writing the perfect thank you – as there are many ways to write an effective note of appreciation. But there are a few key guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Keep it short
  • The tone should be positive, friendly and not overly formal
  • Express appreciation for the person’s time in meeting/speaking with you
  • 1 or 2 sentences about what you enjoyed about your conversation
  • Reiterate interest (if interviewing for a job)
  • No typos!
  • Send within 24-48 hours of your interaction
  • Email is ok

Below are a few examples

  1. “Dear Robert, Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to meet with me about the General Counsel opportunity with Company X. It was great to learn about your company’s plans for growth and how a legal partner would help advance the company’s goals. I believe my industry experience as well as my broad background as a General Counsel would add great value to this new role. I would welcome the opportunity to meet your colleagues and look forward to hearing from you soon.”
  2. “Elena, It was such a pleasure meeting you today. I appreciated getting to know you and learning more about your background as a corporate lawyer. I’m just starting my search for summer internships and your advice will be invaluable as I interview with law firms. Many thanks again. I look forward to staying in touch.”
  3. “Hi Mary, thanks for your time to speak with me about the real estate associate position with your firm. The firm’s developer practice is the best I’ve seen and I feel is well aligned with my background working with similar clients. I appreciate that you would like an associate who can hit the ground running and my six years of real estate experience would enable me to easily do so. I am very interested in the opportunity to work with you and your group.”
  4. “Tim, it was great catching up today over lunch. Thanks for taking the time to listen to my new business idea. I value your opinion and I found your suggestions to be really helpful. I’ll keep you posted on my progress! Thanks again.”
  5. “Julie, thank you for meeting with me today about my job search. I appreciated your insights about the market and the best strategy for maximizing my options. I look forward to implementing your suggestions and will keep you posted on my progress. In the interim, please keep me in mind as interesting opportunities arise.”

A thank you note does not have to reach Shakespearean heights, but it does have to convey your message succinctly and effectively. While there are no hard and fast rules, writing a good thank you takes a little time, effort and understanding of the basic guidelines. So practice your prose and make your next thank you note an inspiration for an encore performance.

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