Monday, May 13, 2013

Thank You Cards - Why I Carry Them

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how impressed I was with a hotel manager who sent a handwritten thank you card after a stay at her establishment. Shortly after posting this message, I was talking with a friend who is starting to interview and she mentioned that she types and emails thank you(s) to the interviewer. I asked why she didn’t send a card, and she couldn’t provide a good answer. The email/typing was faster, so that was why she did it.

I have stacks of thank you cards at my desk, in my bag, and even in my car. If I think somebody did something worthwhile, I will take the time to write the card and deliver it to them (even in my illegible handwriting), either personally or through the mail. I went to my desk and returned with a couple of cards, handing them to her.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

When she asked why, I asked: “How many emails do you have in your inbox?”

“A couple hundred.”

“Have you read them all”


“Do you remember them all?”


“What makes you think your interviewer will remember your email?”

That question got a pause. I then pointed out that I had a handwritten thank you note from a person I helped still sitting on my desk several months after the fact (not from the hotel manager). I see it every day and most times have a small thought about the help I gave and the person who wrote the card. An email would have quickly been filed and forgotten. She got the point, and wrote several thank you notes that day.

The world continues to get smaller and the pace faster. If you want to make a connection, you need to do something unique, just like the hotel manager, and now my job seeking friend. Differentiating yourself in a positive and thoughtful way will always bring benefits, even if it doesn’t land the job. At the least it will ensure that people remember who you are. 

Now from a leader perspective, when was the last time you did something for your team? When an event or project was over, did you do anything to make them feel special? How do you COMPLETE the event so that your team wants to work with you again? Perhaps a small but unique gesture will drive the message home. What do you think?

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