Let me first start by saying: “GO YOU!” TPE Onsite will be a wonderful, stressful, happy, sad, and anxious time. Take a deep breath...in...and out...in and out...
Now, on to "thank you" (TY) notes. In my personal opinion, hand-written notes are better. Again, this is my personal opinion. There are pros and cons of both, but I preferred and used the paper TY notes when I went through TPE Onsite myself–and here are seven reasons why:
- You can personalize them! You can choose colors, designs, font...you name it. So many websites will give you free or discounted TY notes. I used Tinyprints.com to make my own personalized stationery. No, I’m not being paid by them, so please use any vendor that you like!
- The recipients of the letters will have the opportunity to read your card and will be able to remember you from your awesome interview with them!
- It will give you an opportunity to remember your interviewers and what you talked about during your conversation. Try to insert a memorable moment (keep it positive), interesting tidbit, or something about a connection you made.
- It is good professional practice. I write TY cards at least once a week for colleagues, collaborators, and other professionals. It is also a practice that I have instilled in my students as well. You never know when your path will cross with these people's again in the future!
- It gives you some “me” time. The TPE Onsite waiting and workrooms can be loud, stressful, and full of other stimuli. Find yourself a quiet corner, coffee table--or even your hotel bed--and just take time to unload and unwind. Feeling thankful for your interviews and the opportunity to meet so many professionals is an experience within itself.
- It gives you a chance to work on your penmanship. I had to teach a student the other day how to write a check because they couldn’t send money to a friend through Venmo. Step away from the screen...
- There are actual mailboxes at TPE Onsite, so why not use them?
If paper TY notes aren't your style, or an employer requests you communicate electronically, thanking your interviewers via email is perfectly fine. Points 2 through 5 above still apply!
Next, let's talk about content for the card/note. Keep the TY notes/e-mails short, personal, and positive. Some points to think about:
- Did I write the person’s name on the card and envelope, or did I type in the correct person’s name? Did I match the card in the right envelope?
- Are you addressing the correct institution? (Think about it: if you wrote “Go Aztecs!” on a TY letter to someone from UCSD... #awkward)
- What important topics did we talk about in my interview? Which one of them should I include in my TY note? Is it positive?
- Did I sign/type my name at the bottom of the note?
- Is my handwriting legible? Did I spell-check my email?
I hope this blog post helps you! You will all do amazingly well--and don’t forget to be yourselves. Sometimes you’ll have your heart set on an institution or position, and find that it may not be the best “fit” for you during or after the interview. I hope the biggest take-away you all get from this post is please, please, please send your interviewers a TY note, regardless of the outcome. They'll appreciate it! If you do choose hand-written notes, make sure you add that to your packing list for TPE Onsite! Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Allison Dea is the Coordinator of the Office of Residential Experience at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, CA.