Writing for Success: Thank You Notes

Thank you notes can help you build relationships as you prepare for your future. Here are some specific situations that often call for a thank you note, and examples of how to craft an effective message.

After talking to a recruiter at a career fair.  Student holding a pen, writing a note

Differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other people the recruiter talked to that day by following up.

  • Remind the recipient of how/where you met (the name of the career fair).
  • Mention something specific that came up in the conversation.
  • Thank the recruiter for taking the time to talk to you.
  • Reiterate your interest in the specific position you talked about.


Dear Mr./Ms. Recruiter.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about the sales associate leadership program at X Corp when we met today at the Illini Career and Internship Fair. I’m eager to build on the strong customer service skills I’ve developed in my food service jobs, and the opportunity for further professional development that this program offers is very appealing to me. I look forward to having the opportunity to tell you more about my experience and enthusiasm for this position.

I hope you enjoyed your time back on campus – it was great to meet another psychology major!

Yours truly,



Lin A. Sun

BS (Psychology) expected December 2024


When you’ve just had a job interview

A prompt thank you note demonstrates skills that are relevant for most employers’ needs: communication, organization, relationship building, follow-through.

  • Remind the recipient of the specific position you interviewed for
  • Mention something specific you learned in the conversation.
  • Use the opportunity to emphasize your interest in and fit for the role.

Dear Mr./Ms. Hiring Manager.

It was a pleasure getting to know you and the rest of the communications team at X Corp this morning. Thank you so much -- I appreciate the time you took to explain the new outreach strategy that this digital media role will be a part of and to answer my questions about opportunities for professional growth. The more I learn, the more eager I am to be a part of X Corp.

I look forward to hearing from you about the next stages of the hiring process. Let me know if there is any additional information I can supply!


Lee A. Sample


Following a conversation or informational interview with a networking contact.

A thank you note is a standard courtesy that gives you the opportunity to further build the relationship you’ve begun.

  • Mention something specific you learned from the conversation.
  • Thank the person for their time.
  • Mention next steps you will take based on what you learned and/or ask for additional information.

Dear Pat,

I learned so much today talking to you about your role as a project manager for Nonprofit Org. I understand a lot better now what day-to-day work is like in a mission-driven organization. I’ve already sent an email to one of the colleagues you suggested I reach out to, and I look forward to learning more about other kinds of nonprofit roles that might mesh with my skills.

You mentioned a book that you had read that influenced your last career change, but I neglected to write it down. Could you remind me of the author/title?

Thank you -- I really enjoyed talking to you and will follow up again when I have more questions!



When professors have written you recommendations for grad school

Writing recommendations takes time and effort. It means a lot to your recommenders when you

  • let them know the outcome of your applications
  • thank them for their help

Dear Professor Smith,

I’m writing to let you know the results of grad school applications. I got accepted to the University of Washington and Arizona State University and rejected from University of Minnesota and Texas A&M. I haven’t heard back yet from UT Austin, but ASU gave me a generous fellowship and I really connected with people there when I went for a visit, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be accepting their offer.

I appreciate the help you gave me – not only in writing recommendations for me but also in advising me about where to apply and reviewing my personal statements. Thank you so much – I’m excited to embarking on the next step of this journey, and I’ll try to stop by your office to say goodbye before I leave campus.



General Advice

  • The most effective thank-you is a message that only *you* could write to that specific person.
  • Stay professional, but let your voice and personality emerge. 
  • Be sure to actually say “thank you” at some point in the email – but show your communication skills by NOT starting with a generic “Thank you for…” opening.
  • Most thank-you notes will be thank-you emails. However, a handwritten thank-you, sent by US mail or hand-delivered, can be a high-impact gesture.


For more ideas on navigating your future career path, visit our LAS Career Services Blog

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By Kirstin Wilcox