How to Write a Thank You Note for a Letter of Recommendation?

By Razille Mae Biaca / July 21, 2022 /

When someone makes an effort to write a recommendation letter, the least you can do is express your gratitude. Just think about it. There is a person out there that was willing to invest their time and thought to express how wonderful you are. So, taking a few minutes to create a well-written thank you note should be a given. No matter how motivated you are to write the note, once you face the screen, your mind can go blank. It may seem simple at first, but since a recommendation letter is a valuable addition to your goal, you want to do your best to make a good impression on the person who wrote it.  Before you confidently click the “send” button and let your note out in the world, let’s dig deeper into what makes a great thank you note. These tips will serve you well both in the present and in the future, as there is no doubt that many more recommendation letters will come your way.

Why Writing Thank You Notes Is Important?

A recommendation letter is typically written by an employer, manager, or teacher. In any case, the writer isn’t your close friend or family member. It is a busy and professional individual who decided to put in a good word for you in writing.  When writing a letter of recommendation, a person needs to get down to specifics. They will need to reflect on your best qualities and skills. Maybe they'll even describe a situation when you excelled. All in all, the writer of the letter will need to carefully think through what they'll write and how they should write it to make it helpful for you. When someone goes to such trouble without any gain for them (but many benefits to you), a thank you note is practically a must. Showing your appreciation through carefully stringed words is a simple but meaningful act of kindness and gratitude. Writing a brief “Thank you very much” isn’t enough to express how much this letter of recommendation means to you. So, crafting a note that shows thought and effort is more appropriate. You can also consider presenting a gift, explore Thebrobasket, and find the one you think would be the most relevant. There is also the fact that you might need to ask for another reference. When this letter of recommendation becomes outdated, you might want to ask the same person to update their kind words. A thank you note will ensure that you end off a conversation in the right style. Leaving a good impression will make sure that your repeated request for a recommendation doesn’t get rejected. 

What Is the Right Time to Send a Thank You Note?

What some may be puzzled about is the timing. When should you send a thank-you note? There is no exact time that you must stick to. As you can imagine, there is no penalty for sending a thank you note too early or too late. However, you shouldn't wait too long, that's for sure. If you send a thank you note several weeks after you receive the letter of recommendation, it can seem like the letter doesn’t mean much to you. The writer of the letter probably did their best to respect your deadline (if you provided them with such), so sending a thank you note as soon as you can will be respectful. You don't need to send the note the same day, but a day or a few days later is good enough. 

Tips for Writing a Thank You Note 

Writing a thank you note is no scientific report, but when you have no experience, a few guidelines can come in handy. Let’s reveal what it takes to compose a thank you note that you’ll be proud to send.  Here are a few tips that will turn you into a thank-you-note-writing pro.

1. Pick a format

First, you should decide how you’ll send your thank you note. This usually depends on the person who’ll receive it.  If the recipient prefers email correspondence, you should send your thank-you note via email. However, some people will appreciate a hand-written note, so that is another possibility. In case you will be writing the note by hand, you should pick a nice piece of paper that is suitable for the gesture you are about to make. Create a draft and then write the note you plan to give. It is quite common that you make mistakes while writing, and you don't want to give a note full of crossed-out words. You can also resort to an old pencil-to-pen trick. Write the note with the pencil first and then take a pen and go over the text. When you finish, erase the pencil traces with an eraser, and you’ll get your finished “product.”

2. Cover the key thank you note elements

A thank you note can contain whatever you wish—there are no rules. However, if you are unclear about what you can include besides “thank you,” you can follow the outline. A thank you note usually includes these elements:

  • A greeting
  • An expression of gratitude
  • News about the job/school you needed the recommendation for
  • Closing
  • Signature

This is everything you need to cover to get a well-rounded thank you note. You can adapt it or add more depth to it if you wish—that’s up to you. But the basics such as a polite greeting, expressing gratitude, and closing should always be present.  If you want to send the note before you get an update for the job or school you applied for, there is no problem. Here’s an example of how you can write a thank you note even if you have no news or update to include: Dear Mr. Smith, I am writing to you to share how grateful I am for your letter of recommendation. Your opinion is very valuable to me. I still have no news about the job I applied for, however, I am certain that your kind words and your gracious letter of recommendation will give me an edge over the other applicants. If there is anything I can do to repay this debt of appreciation, please don’t hesitate to ask. Sincerely, John Doe

3. Keep it brief and relevant

Notes are usually concise. You want to stick to the note format and make your note nice and short.  There’s simply no need to elaborate on your gratitude. Everything you need to say can fit into a few relevant sentences. The outline mentioned above can serve as a reminder of what you should say, and that will give you the body of the note. The ideal length is to keep your note one paragraph long. If you have several paragraphs, the text will no longer fall under the note category, but it will move onto the letter category. Even if you prefer to separate your sentences with white space, you don't want your note to have more than 5 sentences.  Overall, if your goal is to write a thank-you note, the content should have these two key characteristics—brief and relevant. 

4. Give some kind words back

This is completely optional, but if you wish to make your note more personal, you can dedicate a sentence or two to mentioning what you value about that person. No matter what some people say, it’s always nice when someone praises you. Not in an exaggerating way, but in the "I admire you as a professional" kind of way. You can share how a specific situation with that person inspired you. Or, you can state how their guidance contributed to your professional and personal growth. Write down whatever you consider being appropriate and thoughtful without being too emotional.  If you aren’t quite clear about how you can achieve that appreciative but respectful balance, here’s an example: Dear Mr. Smith, Thank you for taking the time to write a letter of recommendation, I truly appreciate your support. I have always admired your management techniques, and you taught me a lot, so your recommendation means very much to me. I got the job as the assistant manager, and I’m certain that your recommendation paved the way for my successful interview. If there is anything I can do to repay your kind words, please let me know. Sincerely, John Doe

5. Ask someone to review the note

If you feel uncertain about your note, you can always ask someone to take a look at it. There must be a family member or a friend who can jump in as your editor. For anyone who doesn’t take pride in their writing skills, you can hire a writer or editor to help you. A professional’s input can not only perfect your thank you note, but you’ll also get advice that you can apply in the future.  If you want someone to edit your note, but your budget is on the lower side, there’s a solution. Instead of going for a freelance writer or writing agency, find a writing service for students where you can order news article writing and similar forms of text that are created for a wide audience. Their writers are skillful at composing engaging content, while their services are affordable as they are designed for students. In this way, you can get the best of both worlds—quality and affordability. 

6. Proofread the note

Before you send any piece of writing (thank you notes included), you should read it first. It will take you a few seconds to proofread the note, but you’ll be able to spot some mistakes that can lessen the professionalism of your writing. After you complete the note, read it to check how comprehensive and understandable it is. For grammar and spelling mistakes, you can use online proofread checkers like Grammarly. We are blessed with some awesome digital tools, so why not rely on them to help you out. Simply paste your note in the Grammarly and the app will highlight any potential mistakes and offer the correct form. You can also add Grammarly to Chrome or Gmail, so all your future thank you notes sent via email will be automatically proofread. 

Sample Thank You Notes

When you can’t seem to put your thoughts together, taking a look at sample thank you notes can be a good idea. As you read different samples, you'll get inspired to write your note.  You can adopt these samples to your needs, or you can add your unique twist to them. In any case, the samples are a good starting point for a thank-you-note-writing newbie.

Sample 1

Dear Ms. Smith, Thank you so much for your letter of recommendation. I am certain that your support of my application for XY company was one of the reasons I got the job. I want to tell you that I greatly appreciate the time and effort you invested. Thank you again for your strong recommendation and if you need anything, feel free to contact me at any time. Sincerely, John Doe

Sample 2

Dear Mr. Smith, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your kind recommendation letter. Your recommendation made an impressive effect on the hiring committee at XY company, and they scheduled my first interview. I will keep your wise words in mind when I head to the interview. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call in the future if there is any way I can be of service to you. Sincerely, John Doe

Sample 3

Dear Mrs. Smith, Your belief in me has inspired such a strong recommendation letter by you that it has helped me get my dream job. Thank you for supporting me and for believing in me. This is why you are the first person to whom I wanted to break the news of my new job. It's undoubtedly that everything you taught me contributed to my acceptance. If I could ever be of any help to you, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Sincerely, John Doe As you can notice, each sample has a somewhat different tone to it. This only shows that you can personalize the text to make it appropriate for your specific situation and your relationship with the recipient of the note.

Wrapping Up

A letter of recommendation can change the course of your job application or school admission. When someone is vouching for your abilities and skills, the hiring manager or admission committee will position you higher on the “yes” list. So, don’t think twice about applying these tips and doing your best to write an amazing thank you note. Gestures such as this one can help you strengthen your relationships and establish a valuable network with relevant people.

Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.