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The Two Words That Say It All

by Jaclyn McNeil

Two simple words that can take you far in life: “Thank you.” Transitioning from college to the workforce seems like a daunting task, one that requires connections, communication and a little bit of humility.

In a blog post titled “Why You Will Never Get Hired at Our PR Firm,” president of Buchanan Public Relations, Anne Buchanan emphasizes the importance of showing respect and gratitude. Buchanan received a call from a friend of a friend (FOF) asking if she would be willing to have an informational interview with her niece, who is attending college and studying communications. Buchanan obliged and gave the FOF her email address. A few weeks later, the college student emailed Buchanan asking general questions about breaking into the PR business. Buchanan responded with a long and thoughtful email. She never received an acknowledgement from the soon-to-be college grad.

“The lesson is simple. You can almost never be too courteous. Thank everyone whose path you cross during your job search,” said Buchanan. “You never know when that person might be on the other side of a hiring decision or be in a position to recommend you.”

So, does it matter if the thank-you note is handwritten or emailed? A handwritten thank-you note makes a bigger impact than an email. With almost all of our communication these days done via the Internet, the handwritten note is virtually extinct but certainly not out of style.

According to, nearly 15 percent of hiring managers say they would not hire someone who did not send a thank-you note after the interview. Your thank-you note does not need to tell an epic tale. Stick to the basics: salutation, say what you are thankful for and sign.

In a blog post for Jaffe PR, Nick Latham said that the thank-you note is something all professionals should incorporate in their work and personal life.

“Despite what our Mothers (and Miss Manners) always told us, no one seems to take the time to write thank you notes anymore,” said Latham. “We can all learn from the experience of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kralik of Pasadena.”

Beyond the obvious benefits of writing a thank-you note, John Kralik, author of “365 Thank Yous” and Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, claims that writing thank-you notes can change your life.

In December 2007, Kralik’s life seemed full of debts and disasters. While on a walk in the mountains above Pasadena, Kralik was inspired to write one thank-you note a day for the next year.

“I learned to be grateful for the life I had,” said Kralik. “I learned to be grateful for my law firm, my practice, and for the love of friends and family that surrounded me.”

Kralik expanded his thank-you note writing to include not only his family and co-workers but also people he encountered in his everyday life. He wrote thank-you notes to his hairdresser, housecleaner, mailman, even the barista at Starbucks who made his coffee and knew his personal order.

Kralik found that by thanking his clients for paying their bills, their payments came in faster and his clients began to refer him to their friends. It wasn’t long after Kralik wrote his daily thank-you notes that he became Superior Court Judge Kralik.

So next time you leave a job interview, meet with a client or just feel like giving thanks, sit down and write a good old-fashioned thank-you note. You never know where a few simple words of thanks can lead.


  1. Post comment

    I am a firm believer in the power of “Thank you.” The other day, I left a local Tuscaloosa retail store and not a word was spoken. I left in fury, thinking I just gave the store my business and was not even acknowledged. “Thank you” and “Have a nice day” are powerful phrases that can affect an entire brand experience.

    As students enter the work experience, we are trying to sell ourselves for a certain job position. Showing gratitude to anyone who has helped you along your journey to find a job speaks volumes about your character. A handwritten thank-you note is a final contribution you have control over to make your own personal brand experience stand out among competitors.


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