113 Thank You Letters

Thank You Letters

Sending a thank you letter to a potential employer, mentor, or an individual who may help you obtain an internship, is an opportunity to express your appreciation for their time and remind that person about you and your job interests. The letter can reinforce your qualifications, mention something that you forgot to say in an interview, and show that you are very interested in a position. It also demonstrates that you are also considerate and appreciative of the time they spent with you. The following information can help you draft a thank-you letter to someone who interviews you for a position.

What is the purpose of the thank you letter?

  • To thank the person for his or her time and for providing you with information about the job and the organization.
  • To demonstrate you know something about the company by complimenting the employer on the organization’s plans, programs and any thing else that was interesting to you or that impressed you. Be sure to be genuine about this. This requires you conduct research about the organization, be attentive in an interview, pay attention to your surroundings, and take time to checkout display, signs and if you liked what you saw, say that in your thank you letter.
  • To highlight your qualifications that make you a good candidate for the position.

What format should your letter be in?

  • If your letter is very short you may hand write it. You could buy a simple thank you card and write a short message.
  • You could write a formal letter. Use standard, professional business letter format.

When should I send a thank-you letter?

  • Thank you letters should be sent within 24 hours of an interview, when it is still fresh in your mind and the employer’s mind.

Example of a Thank-You Letter

DO-IT, University of Washington (UW). These materials are provided under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License

Have I Included Everything?

The Effective Thank You Letter








Who is your donor? An individual? A business? A nonprofit organization? If your donor is a business or foundation, was your scholarship funded by an individual or by the business or foundation as a whole? In some cases, you will not write to a specific donor, but will instead write an “impact” letter. In that case, you will not include an inside address, and your salutation will read, “To whom it may concern.”

Does the letter recipient immediately know who you are and why you are writing (without stating “My name is…” or “I am writing because…”)? Do you refer to your scholarship/fellowship by its entire, proper name?

This is the “meat” of your letter. In one or two paragraphs, does the reader get a deeper sense of who you are?

From the content in your final paragraph, does the reader finish your letter with a clear understanding of how the scholarship impacted your decision to attend the Bush School? Did it also impact your ability to pursue a public service career? What does the scholarship mean in terms of your student debt load?

Does the formatting of this letter strictly follow the template included under the “Thank-You Letters” tab of the Bush School Writing website? Does the line spacing match that of the template? Does the letter exceed the one-page maximum in length?

Are you writing to the actual donor or to the donor’s representative? For instance, if your donor is a foundation, are you writing to the foundation president or designated representative?

Do you state that you are a first- or second-year student at the Bush School? Do you explain that you are either an INTA or an MPSA student, and include your track and concentration (if applicable)?

Have you asked yourself what the reader might want to know about you upon learning that you received a scholarship that he or she (or his or her organization) funded?

What are your future plans? How does this opportunity to study at the Bush School impact those plans? How does this translate into helping others nearby and around the world?

After fine-tuning the content, did you check for grammatical errors? Is the punctuation correct? Is everything spelled correctly?

Is the date accurate and formatted correctly? (The date is not needed with an impact letter.) Is the inside address accurate, complete and formatted correctly?

Are you careful to thank the actual donor and not necessarily the letter recipient?

After reading this portion of your letter, will the reader know where you are from, where you received your undergraduate degree and why you are choosing to go into public service?

If applicable, did you thank your donor for his or her (or the foundation’s) own public service contributions? Did you avoid thanking your donor again for the scholarship since you already did so in the first paragraph?

A few capitalization pointers:

– The Bush School of Government &

  Public Service

–  the Bush School

–  Master of International Affairs


–  master’s degree in international


–  “I majored in political science.”

  (name of major not capitalized)

What courtesy title is appropriate for your donor? Ms.? Mrs.? Mr.? Dr.? Are you addressing the letter recipient by courtesy title and last name only?

If you were instructed to write an impact letter, is your gratitude focused not toward a specific individual or group, but rather on the fact that you received the scholarship?

Have you stated your future plans? Have you included other information that will give the letter recipient a better idea of who you are (service activities, family background, key moments that inspired your public service pursuits, etc.)?

Did you close your letter with either “sincerely” or “sincerely yours,” avoiding more casual terms like    “Gig ‘em”? Before your letter is mailed, is your name signed clearly?

Is the text in each paragraph well-organized? Are your sentences clear and concise instead of wordy? Do your paragraphs seamlessly flow from one to the other? Do you avoid repeating text?

If the letter recipient is a current or former ambassador, or is an elected official, is he/she addressed as “The Honorable” in the inside address? Is “Ambassador,” “Congressman,” “Congresswoman” or “Senator” used in the salutation?

Does the recipient now know some basic information about you? Will he or she know you are appreciative of the gift with language that is clear, but not too over-the-top “flowery”?

After reading this section, will the reader feel good about funding your scholarship in particular and about supporting the Bush School in general?

Did you write the name of the Bush School correctly and in its entirety? Did you do the same with the name of your master’s degree? Is your class year correct?

Is this letter professional in appearance and content? Is it something of which you can be proud? Does it positively represent the Bush School student body?


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Thank You Letters Copyright © 2020 by Liza Long; Amy Minervini; and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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