Yes, you’ve heard thousands (or at least dozens) of times that you must send a thank you note after a job interview. But what about all of those other professional situations—the ones in which expressing your gratitude isn’t “expected,” per se, but it’s a nice (and smart) thing to do.
Just because you want to write the email doesn’t mean the words will magically come to you. Maybe you have a tendency to be too effusive and overdo it. Maybe you aren’t quite sure where to start. And so, you find yourself staring at a blank draft for far too long—tempted to just write “Thanks!” and be done (or give up).
Whenever I’m feeling stuck, I remember the advice I once read in a Miss Manners column that—believe it or not—the best way to express your appreciation is to avoid making “Thank you” your first two words.
For example, in response to a reader who’d asked about graduation presents, she suggests:
"Start with a statement of emotion—that you were delighted that they came to your party, or thrilled when you opened their present. Then come the thanks…and then a friendly line about the donors (such as that you remember something they told you, or that you hope to see them soon). A line about your own plans—summer, college or work—is optional."
When I’m stumped, I’ve found taking this advice and bumping my gratitude to the second line makes writing these kinds of notes much easier (and makes them look more genuine and interesting). Here are some templates to show it in practice for three common professional situations: