In this age of texting and instant messaging where proper grammar and punctuation are abandoned in favor of brevity and convenience, the ability to craft a handwritten letter is a forgotten art form. In fact, within our youngest generation of employees, there are millions who have never purchased a stamp, licked an envelope, or made a trip to the post office.
Does this mean that thank you letters have no benefit in modern working society? Not at all. If anything, the opposite is true. The ability to craft a well-written letter of thanks can be used as a “secret weapon” in one’s quest to land a job. Since letter-writing is a rare skill these days, those who write letters will make an impression upon an interviewer that just might give them that extra advantage in the dog-eat-dog world of job seeking.
The benefits of writing thank you letters stretch far beyond the obvious gesture of politeness and gratitude. A job applicant who takes the time to write a letter is showing that they are most likely far more interested in the position than those who don’t write a letter, and to an employer this translates into a potential employee who is passionate, detail-oriented, well-mannered, and polite. While these characteristics alone may not guarantee getting a job, they certainly don’t hurt.
While writing a thank you letter can give an advantage to the job seeker, let’s not overlook the greater benefit, which is not to the employer or the job seeker, but to the civilized world as a whole. Yes, the very act of writing letters to those we wish to think brings back a certain level of class and gentility that has long been missing in the world. The ability to write a thoughtful letter is what separates mankind from animals and savages, because even animals and savages can peck away at a cellphone keypad and come up with a succession of letters that could be deemed acceptable writing by modern standards.
A job interview presents a perfect opportunity to write a thank you letter because most letters of gratitude are written only after receiving a gift. A thank you letter after a job interview, on the other hand, is all the more impressive because the job hasn’t been guaranteed. Only a well-bred and well-mannered individual would thank a person who has not really given them anything in return except for his or her time. Therefore, those who seize the opportunity to write a thank you letter after a job interview are more often than not rewarded for their thoughtful gesture.