A life science recruiter's blog on placing R&D professionals.

Blog/Career Advice for Life Science Professionals

The Importance of Thank You Notes

Thank you notes are an important key to job success and should be used more often by candidates seeking jobs, those marketing for new business, and anyone who wants to impress his boss and colleagues. I am talking about hand written notes, not emails. A written thank you note shows the recipient that you care enough to take a bit more time and effort for all you do. It catches the eye of people simply because it is so rare in today’s digital world. In a small way it helps the printing business, which I still wish to support.

Thank you notes are not written just because you got a present. Any act of kindness deserves a thank you. Anyone who goes out of his way for you should be recognized in writing for his favor. When a hiring manger takes the time to interview you, either by phone or in person, this certainly deserves a written note. I thought one recent article I read very useful because it explains why you should say thank you even if you did not get the job. The author mentions reasons I had not thought of before and inspired this post.

In my business of recruiting scientists and doctors for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, I send written thank you notes every time a potential client speaks with me on the phone. Even if nothing resulted from the call, I want the person to know I enjoyed speaking with him and that I appreciated his taking the time out of his busy day. I also write a thank you note to those contacts who go beyond the norm in helping me locate great candidates for a search I am recruiting for. Some people send me detailed info about the candidates or maybe include contact information. Some introduce me to their network. All of this does not benefit them; still, they took the time for me. Therefore I acknowledge this. I must admit for some people who simply forward an email of mine or just drop a name, I do not send a written note. I always email back a ” Thank You” though.

How much do thank you notes stand out? Well in my 20 years of life science recruiting I can count on my hand the number of hand written notes from candidates I have received. I can tell you these candidates go to the top of my list. Sure I get paid for what I do by the pharma and biotech companies. But I go out of my way for my candidates. I always keep in touch and I always give feedback. Never are they left in the dark. Often there are many candidates to choose from and yet I picked them. I am not saying my candidates are ungrateful. Far from it. They always say thank you on the phone or by email. But the ones who send written notes are rare indeed. So if you want to stand out and be remembered, send a thank you note next time you have that interview or phone screen.

Now back to those printing presses I mentioned. There is nothing like quality stock and design to set off your note. It doesn’t have to have “Thank You” printed on the card. Be inventive and find something that stands out beyond a plain note with thank you written on it. To my boating friends I send a card with a nautical theme. To my DAR ladies I will send a patriotic themed card. Of course to my clients and candidates I send my business note cards which have my logo and company name. Still even these cards are beautiful and I enjoy writing on them every time. Perhaps if you are a chemist, you could have a card designed and printed just for you with some chemistry sign or symbol on it along with your name. It really isn’t that much money to have a custom thank you card designed. I even place special stamps of famous scientists on my business thank you notes since I work with scientists. So be proud of the actual card as well as the words you express and others will take notice.