Recommendation Thank You Letter Etiquette
After you receive a reference or recommendation letter, you should always thank the person appropriately by sending a recommendation thank you letter. You can send this message immediately following the receipt of the letter. If you know that the results of their letter, for example, getting a job offer, will come quickly, you can wait for the results. However, quick is within the next ten business days. Any decision that will take several months, such as acceptance to graduate school, is too long, and you should follow up quickly to thank them. An update on your situation will help them, just in case you may need to get another letter from them. You can send an email thank you with the results once the decision is reached.
Thank You Card
There are plenty of well designed and simple thank you cards that you can purchase at a book or stationary store. Depending on the quality of paper the letter is printed on, you can get a box of ten for less than twenty dollars. You will easily use more than ten when thanking people for writing recommendation letters to graduate school or when applying to work.
The card should be simple and tasteful. You should avoid humorous cards since it is difficult to determine what some people will find funny or offensive, or if they will just not get the joke. Remember, if they keep the card, this is how they will remember you, and classy is the impression you want to leave.
You can send a thank you letter by email. It is not inappropriate to thank people by email, since this is the preferred form of contact for many people. Also, email cuts down on the paper correspondence that they have to deal with. Unlike thank you cards, which most people tend to throw away, many people are more likely to keep an email. Be sure you avoid electronic thank you cards because most people will not open them due to computer virus fears.
If you know this person well and have been in regular contact with them, a phone call is appropriate. You should call them during the day time, when they are likely to be at work, and not bother them at home. If they are not available, you can leave a quick voice mail with your thank you. Unlike email and thank you cards, telephone calls are likely to be quickly forgotten and voice mails are quickly erased, which means your thank you will leave little impression. Most people may not remember the exact call, but will remember the effort behind it.
No matter how you send the message, your thank you should include what you did with the recommendation letter. Most people who take the time to write a recommendation letter honestly want to know the outcome, but they can tell you if they will be available. It is a good idea to stay in contact with this person, in case you need another recommendation in the future.