05/17/2013 02:42 pm ET Updated Jul 17, 2013

How To Write A Thank You Letter

In the digital age, the "thank you letter" is a bit of a lost art. When I first started interviewing for jobs, it was the first thing you did when you got home from your interview. You wrote it, printed it on a medium-stock, watermarked paper, put it in a matching envelope, addressed, stamped and mailed it. Then you played the waiting game.

Not that long ago, I had an interview for a job I really wanted, but for which I was hopelessly out-classed. Thinking that it would be a good idea to make myself stand-out, I decided to pre-write my thank you letter so I could hand it to the gentleman who was doing the hiring right before I left his office.

I didn't get that job, but you know what, I don't regret writing this.

Dear Sir:

You hold in your hands a letter. Not an email, not a Facebook message, not a DM. An actual, physical missive. It is an epistle, of the ilk our fathers and their fathers once wrote. In short, this is a real "brick and mortar" affair you are looking at.

But this is not just any letter, no. It is a thank you* letter. You may have never received one before, but back when I first began job hunting - in between the Iraq wars as they say - writing, folding, sealing and stamping one of these beauties was a post-interview moral imperative.

While I appreciate and wholeheartedly agree with your desire to hire me on the spot, I'm pleased that you have taken my advice and opted to give yourself more time to mull it over. Hiring an employee is a unique experience that few get to enjoy. Don't rush through it. Savor it. As you fall asleep tonight, think to yourself, "I am an employer. I shall employ a fellow human being. I am a force for good." If you fully live every moment of this journey, the destination, applying your signature to that offer letter, will be so much the sweeter.

Let us not chide ourselves for perpetuating a charade, continuing about our day as if we both do not already know that our future working relationship is written in the stars. We are athletes of imagination and as such, we must remain limber and at the ready.

When we speak tomorrow to settle the formalities, we will do so knowing that "being in the moment" is just one of many arrows in our respective quivers.

Thank you for your time today, thank you for your enthusiasm, and thank you for what I know will be your steady leadership for many days after this. And if I may be so bold as to say it, you're welcome.


Carol R. Hartsell

* I hesitated to use italics at first for fear they would take away from the Jeffersonian simplicity of this form of communication, but then I threw caution to the wind and said to myself, "Critical moments call for emphasis. Let's not sniff at the tools God has given us."

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