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In the world of management consulting, form can often make a difference. There are several situations in which a formal thank you letter leaves a very good impression which, in turn, may come in handy down the line with colleagues, business associates, superiors and future employers. While there is no list of situations or guidelines for writing quick thank you notes to personal friends and acquaintances, form does sometimes call for thank you letters to colleagues, business contacts, recruiters and prospective employers, and these do require a bit of polishing.
Even though there are no strict rules regarding form and content, and tone very much depends on the usual degree of formality between you and the person in question, there are several general guidelines advising how and when to send a thank you letter.
Thank you letters are typically sent if a colleague or a business contact has done you a favour and you need to thank him or her or if you want to make a good impression on a recruiter or prospective employer with a formal note thanking him or her for inviting you for a job interview. Until only a few years ago, formal letters used to be sent in hard copy, but today e-mail will serve the same purpose just fine if it is the usual mode of communication between you and the other person.
Thank you letters usually consist of three short paragraphs. This, of course, can vary from one situation to the next and depends on the nature of the relationship between the people involved. The sender will usually thank the recipient in the first paragraph and then echo the sentiment in the last section. The middle section can contain some details on how the sender benefitted from the recipient's actions or inform him or her about a possible positive outcome of the situation.
If you are sending a thank you letter to the recruiter after a job interview, you can also use the second paragraph to mention the things which you did not get a chance to bring up during the interview, especially if you feel that they would have increased your chances of being recruited. If not, you can just briefly explain to the recruiter how you benefitted from the job interview and mention some of the things which you found useful.
Here is an example:
33 Bedford Row
November 24, 2007
123 Camden High Street
London, NW1 7JR
Dear Ms. Smith,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me last Thursday to discuss the career opportunities at BCX Consulting. I really appreciated the insight into the HR Management aspect of your firm since I feel that this will be the next big challenge in my career. Gaining new information about an industry leader was certainly interesting and helpful.
I would just like to say once again how excited I am about the prospect of putting my skills and experience in consulting to use on one of your projects and making a positive contribution in your firm in the future.
Thank you again for your time and for considering me for this position. I look forward to hearing from you when you choose the final candidate.