The power of ‘thank you’

{Photo via Ball Of Fire Consulting}

{Photo via Ball Of Fire Consulting}

Two simple words that can take you far in life: “Thank you.” Don’t underestimate their power.

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. It’s a tale as old as time: Buchanan received a call from a friend of a friend 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 her email address. A few weeks later, the college student emailed Buchanan asking general questions about breaking into the PR business. One of Buchanan’s senior employees responded with a long and thoughtful email. No response from the soon-to-be college grad. Except when the girl emailed a second time with a laundry list of questions she needed answered for a class.

“We may answer her questions (tersely). We may even take the time to explain to her how her lack of common courtesy has doomed her permanently to the black list in our very detailed memory bank,” Buchanan wrote. Long story short: this girl is will definitely be job hunting for a while longer.

“The lesson is simple. You can almost never be too courteous. Thank everyone whose path you cross during your job search,” said Buchanan.

All it takes is a simple ‘thank you.’

A handwritten thank-you note makes a bigger impact than an email, but email has become the accepted form of currency for these exchanges.

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. If you connected with someone over a particular aspect of your resume, or a shared interest, point it out. Any piece that will make you memorable and fresh in a potential employers mind is an asset to you – so long as that memorable and fresh tidbit is a positive one.


Want to take it one step further? 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.”

Stay thankful!

By Jaclyn McNeil

  • Share on:


  • Reply September 16, 2013

    Email thank you seems to fall flat. Since we’re always on our phone or computer, it’s really easy and doesn’t take much effort. Recently, I’ve been thinking about designing my own thank you notes. I thought it would be special and if you’re design savvy, you could tailor the design to each company.

    I hadn’t heard of “365 Thank Yous”. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Reply September 16, 2013


    love this post – people don’t realize how rare genuine “thank you’s” are and that everyone loves to feel appreciated.

    I send handwritten ones after interviews, meetings, dinners, anything to show my sincere appreciation!

  • Reply September 17, 2013

    laura carson miller

    Great post! and I agree that a handwritten note will far outshine any email correspondence, any day of the year. I even wrote a post about handwritten notes for Sweet Lemon:

  • Reply September 18, 2013

    It’s the little gestures, like a written thank-you note, that are so, so, so important. Not just in business either. A note to a prof that helped you or to a friend that’s done something thoughtful can make such a difference in your relationship with that person. Thank you for this article!

  • […] include in the email that you will be following up with a written thank you note,” says Gwen. Thank you notes are important no matter what, but when it comes to nailing the job it’s key. Not quite sure how […]

Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.

Leave a Reply to Allyn Cancel reply