The Art of the Hand-Written Thank You Note

When was the last time you purchased resume paper with a matching envelope and put it into a typewriter and started typing a resume?  Or how about the last time you wrote a thank-you note with a pen instead of a keyboard?  A recent article written by Prof. Laura French in the Star Tribune Lifestyle section provides a great perspective from current UST MBA student, Annelise Larson on how the thank-you note has evolved.

When I think back to when I was applying for jobs after my college graduation, I realize how times have changed.  I looked for jobs in the Sunday paper and perused pages and pages of job listings on the wall of a local employment agency; I used an electric typewriter, not a computer to write my resume; I hand-wrote a thank-you note after an interview because email didn’t exist yet; I called my parents on a rotary dial telephone that was tethered to the wall to share my excitement when I was offered my first job in higher ed.  I didn’t have the option to text my friends or update my Facebook status with the news.   Those things didn’t exist yet.  Oh, how times have changed!

As I help my daughter with her first grade homework and look at how neatly and precisely she prints her upper and lower case letters, I think about what it will be like when she applies for her first job.  At 6 years old she already knows how to work the computer and is able to send text messages better than I can.  She has reached higher levels on Angry Birds that I’ll ever get.  She has that technology “chip” that I think this generation was born with, which actually helps me to be more tech savvy just so I can keep up with her!  But the one thing she does really well is craft hand-written notes to friends and family.  She takes her time, thinks about what she wants to say and carefully prints her letters using a #2 pencil.  And I know the impact that letter has on its recipient.  Just like Annelise says, hand-written notes end up on bulletin boards.  They’re special and memorable.  Just like the person who wrote it.  And that’s the person I’m going to remember when it comes time to hire my next employee.

Deb Basarich is associate director of student life for the Full-time UST MBA program.