If someone has given you a gift, done you a favor, or helped you in a significant way, you should consider sending them a thank you letter.
A thank you letter shows someone that you appreciated their time, energy, and care about their role in your life. It’s a polite way to express your gratitude for their kindness.
But it can be a chore to write a thank you note, especially if you don’t know how to start. Done wrong, it can come across as meaningless or generic.
This article will give you a step-by-step guide to write the perfect thank you letter, along with templates that you can use for any occasion.
What Do I Need to Include in My Thank You Letters?
There are four steps you should use to write a thank you letter.
We’ll get into advice for specific types of letters soon, but these four rules apply to them all.
Step 1: Express Gratitude for the Specific Action That You’re Writing This Letter About
Say one of your family members gave you a new pair of pajamas for Christmas. It’s better to say “Thank you for the pink pajamas you gave me for Christmas” than simply “Thank you for the Christmas present.”
Be as specific as possible. Try to avoid generic phrases like “Thank you for the present” or “Thank you for the kind favor,” so it doesn’t feel like a sample thank you note.
Step 2: Add a Specific Detail Showing What That Kindness Means to You
Show them that the gift they gave you or the favor they did to you impacted your life in a meaningful way.
For example, if you received a beautiful new notebook as a gift, an author might use this step to write “I can’t wait to use this notebook to write my next novel,” while a college student might use this step to write “This notebook will help me keep all my class notes organized.”
Everyone likes to feel like they’ve made a difference in someone’s life, and it’s important to show the impact that this gift of favor has made on you, specifically.
Step 3: Express How Much Your Relationship with This Person Means to You
It’s important to mention your relationship and how glad you are that this person is in your life. It can be as simple as “Thanks for being such a great friend” or “I’m really glad you’re my uncle.”
If it’s a professional note, you can also mention that you’d like to continue the relationship in the future, such as “I look forward to working with you again.”
Step 4: Close with a Final Word of Appreciation or Reciprocation
This step brings everything full circle with a final note of gratitude. If it’s appropriate, you can offer to reciprocate the kindness sometime by offering them a favor in the future.
Otherwise, you can just thank them again. End on a note that’s short and sweet.
What Are the Best Templates I Can Use to Write a Thank You Note?
We’ve compiled thank you letter examples for various situations. Feel free to tweak them as needed to fit your specific circumstances.
How Do I Write a Thank You Letter for a Gift?
If someone gave you a gift, here’s how you can use the four steps:
- Step 1: Thank them for the gift that they gave you and mention the occasion they gave it to you for.
- Step 2: Add a specific detail showing what that gift means to you.
- Step 3: Comment on your relationship with the person who gave you the gift.
- Step 4: Thank them again, or offer to use the gift to do something kind for them.
Example 1: “Thank you very much for the baking kit you got me for Christmas. I’m excited to try out a new recipe next weekend. Thanks for being such a wonderful cousin. Maybe the next time you visit, I can welcome you with your favorite cookies!”
Example 2: “Thank you very much for the silver earrings you gave me for my birthday! I wore them to school yesterday and received lots of compliments. You’re a really great friend. And of course, you’re welcome to borrow them anytime you want!”
Example 3: “Lydia and I thank you very much for the wonderful wedding present. It was very thoughtful of you to give us a waffle maker, since it’s no great secret that Lydia and I love breakfast foods. I still think fondly of that time the three of us went to Waffle House together on our freshman year road trip. I hope we get to share many more road trips—and waffles—in the future.”
What Should I Write in a Thank You Letter for a Favor?
If someone did you a favor, here’s how you can use the four steps:
- Step 1: Thank them for the specific favor that they did for you and the day they performed the favor.
- Step 2: Add a specific detail showing what that favor means to you or what impact it made.
- Step 3: Comment on your relationship with the person who did the favor for you.
- Step 4: Thank them again, or, if applicable, offer to reciprocate the favor in the future.
Example 1: “Thank you for letting me borrow your car last Tuesday. Mine is still in the auto repair shop, and without your help, I wouldn’t have been able to get to my job interview on time. I’m really lucky to have you for a neighbor. Call me if you ever need to borrow my car.”
Example 2: “Thank you for helping me clean up after the party last Saturday. It would have taken me all night to wash all those dishes alone, but with your help it got done in no time. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend. I hope that I can return the favor if you ever need it.”
Example 3: “I want to thank you for your hospitality in letting me stay at your house last weekend. I especially enjoyed the chess games we played together each night after dinner—I’ll have to teach my daughters how to play now! It was a delight to see you and your family again. You’re always welcome to stay with us if your work brings you to California.”
How Should I Write a Thank You Letter for a Customer or a Client?
If someone hired you for work or bought one of your products or services, here’s how you can use the four steps:
- Step 1: Thank them for the specific product or service that they purchased from your business.
- Step 2: Add a specific detail about your business.
- Step 3: Tell them how much their business and patronage means to you.
- Step 4: Thank them again, or give them an offer of support or a promotional deal.
Example 1: “Thank you for trusting Haircut Emporium to cut and style your hair. It’s our mission to help every client feel confident and beautiful and we’re happy we can do that for you. We look forward to seeing you again. As a token of appreciation, we’re enclosing a coupon for 15% off your next haircut.”
Example 2: “We want to thank you for choosing Ollivanders to provide you with your wand. We’re proud to have serviced some of the finest witches and wizards of the century. Your continued support and patronage means a lot to us. If you have any questions about our wands or services, send us an owl and we’d be happy to assist you.”
Example 3: “I want you to know how much we enjoy serving your catering needs. We love catering special events and it was a pleasure to serve you this time. Your wedding was absolutely beautiful and we were happy to see the guests enjoying our food. Once again, thank you for your business.”
Depending on the type of business you're in, you may find yourself sending the same thank you notes to multiple clients or customers. While it may not take long to type an individual message, if you’re sending it to say 50 clients, it can get tedious.
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Should I Write a Thank You Note for a Referral Letter?
You can send a thank you note if a teacher, employer, or colleague wrote you a recommendation letter or referred you for a position during your job search.
Here’s how you can use the four steps in this situation:
- Step 1: Thank them for the referral or recommendation.
- Step 2: Tell them what the outcome of the referral or recommendation has been and what you hope that will mean for your career.
- Step 3: Express your appreciation for their role in your professional journey.
- Step 4: Thank them again, or offer to keep them informed of results.
Example 1: “Thank you for taking the time to write me a letter of recommendation for my application to law school. It’s my dream to become a criminal defense lawyer, and I couldn’t achieve that dream without your help. You’ve been a wonderful professor to all of your students, and I deeply appreciate your help and support. I’ll inform you of the results as soon as I hear back from the law schools I’ve applied to.”
Example 2: “I can’t thank you enough for referring my services as a babysitter. Thanks to your referral letter, I’ve been hired by a wonderful family with two little girls. I will miss your family very much. Tell the kids I say hi.”
Should I Send a Thank You Letter After a Job Interview?
It’s good practice to send a thank you letter to your hiring manager after a job interview.
Here’s how you can use the four steps in this situation:
- Step 1: Thank them for the job interview.
- Step 2: Tell them what you learned from the interview.
- Step 3: Express your appreciation for the company culture, or something else that makes you excited to work here.
- Step 4: Thank them again, and mention that you’re looking forward to the next step.
It’s most common to do this via email. For more tips, read our interview follow-up guide.
Example 1: “Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the open position at your firm. I learned a lot about the industry from our job interview, and I feel confident that I could do well in this type of career. I enjoy the company culture and look forward to hearing your hiring decision. Thanks again for your help with my job search, and I hope to be working with you soon.”
Example 2: “I want to thank you for inviting me to your office today. It was great to hear about the company’s goals for bringing new value to customers. Your company seems like a wonderful place to work, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with your team. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need from me to move the process forward.”
How Do I Sign Off a Thank You Note?
Your sign-off depends on the recipient of your thank you note.
If you’re writing to a hiring manager, client, or other professional, you may want to use Yours sincerely. Or is it Yours faithfully?
If your note is more casual, you could write Thanks again or just Thank you.
Those are our favorite templates for writing thank you notes.
You can even add a personal touch by using a handwritten note.
Customize your thank you notes as much as you can to fit your specific situation, and they’ll be sure to impress your friends, family, clients, and colleagues.