The importance of the thank you note

Nearly finished with your spring semester internship? It’s time to send an old-school thank you note. Here’s how.

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As your spring internship comes to a close, you want to make sure that you leave a lasting impression. After all, even if your internship doesn’t turn into a full-time gig, the experience and contacts you’ve gained are likely to help you later on.

The best and most sufficient way to show your appreciation to your supervisor is by giving them a thank you note (because you can’t take the time to shake hands with everyone in the office).

A thank you note is a clear and thoughtful indication to a company that you have valued their knowledge and service. In fact, according to an Accountemps survey, 91% of managers liked being thanked by promising candidates.

Express gratitude to your managers

Supervising (and hopefully mentoring) an intern isn’t always a walk in the park. It can take an ample amount of time and effort, often above and beyond a manager’s normal duties. Thank your manager — and your manager’s manager — for helping you build your skills.

If anyone else was instrumental in helping you land the internship — a family friend, a university connection, or an HR recruiter, write them a thank you note, too.

Show off what you’ve learned

Listing some accomplishments you’re proud of or noting a valued skill developed during your time at your internship demonstrates to your supervisor the progress you’ve made. Include some lingo that you picked up while on the job for bonus points. Let them know what your biggest takeaway from this experience was and how you will carry that with you in the future. You can even add your appreciation for their help in “life lessons,” like how to kick the break room vending machine in just the right place whenever it got stuck.

Make reference toward the future

If you’ve had an amazing internship experience, this company is probably at the top of your list for your full-time job search. But you can’t flat out ask for a high-paying, full-time job in an internship thank you note.

Instead, plant the idea for when you do come back around with your application: Tell them how much you enjoyed your time at the company and that you would be honored to work there again. Ask to connect with your manager and others via LinkedIn or in person in a few months, and keep them updated on your end-of-college successes via email or over coffee down the road.

You might even bring up the possibility of taking on a project or two on a freelance basis before you graduate to maintain those professional connections.

Make it personal

Aside from the basics of writing a thank you note (use good paper, check your spelling twice, etc.), don’t forget to make your note stand out. Personalize it by making reference to conversations you had, whether about ‘Star Wars” or how to send a company-wide memo. And while 89% of employers say it’s ok to send a thank you note via email, going the extra mile to handwrite one can show how meaningful the internship experience was for you.