The Advantage Of The Handwritten Note

The Advantage Of The Handwritten Note


When was the last time you sent a handwritten note? If you can’t remember, it’s understandable. Once a standard practice of communication, the handwritten note has long been replaced by email, instant message, and text. However, handwritten notes are more than just a nice surprise; they can also be an effective career tool. Say you’re interviewing at a big name company, and there are lots of candidates who are plenty qualified. A handwritten note can provide the opportunity to further differentiate yourself and make a great impression on a hiring manager. Here’s why:

1. They stand out.

A busy iPhone screen email icon is so common, but a handwritten note stands out. Sending an email follow up is the businessperson’s most common form of communication. If you want to stand out, you have to do things a little differently: choose some clean stationary and a smooth ballpoint pen, and get writing. Uniform emails don’t have the power to let you to stand out from the crowd the same way your handwriting and unique presentation do. Furthermore, a hiring manager will be more apt to remember opening an envelope and reading a card than clicking a popup in their inbox. Everyone sends email, but few take the time to put pen to paper. Which would you remember more?

2. They show effort.

This quote is about writing a handwritten note, it says: opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognise them. Composing a text or email to follow up post-interview is quick, and easily the most time-efficient option to get your point across. Writing a letter, however, requires you to buy the materials and follow through with mailing. In the most extreme of cases, I’ve even seen an interviewee run across sunrise Boston the day after his interview to hand deliver his thank-you letter before leaving the city for the weekend. Power move. To write someone a letter shows you think they’re worthy of your time, as well as how thoughtful and invested you are. That goes a long way.

3. They’re personal.

This quote is also about a handwritten note, it read "it's not business, it's personal"You can’t send mass communication via USPS. There will be no question that the letter was specifically intended for the individual you’re addressing, and not a copy/paste job sent to each of the five interviewers that day. Do some research on the person to whom you’re writing: what are his or her greatest accomplishments, or passions? For example, in one of my first job interviews, I learned that my hiring manager and I both had a love of cooking. In my follow up note, I mentioned our connection and added one of my favorite recipes. When you include personal touches in your note, you’re showing you care not only about the position, but the person hiring as well. What better way to make a lasting impression?


Anyone can write a one-off email and cross their fingers for a response, but you’re setting yourself apart by going against the norm. In the words of an HR rep at a large Boston-based company: “Got your handwritten thank you note, thank you, very classy. Keep in touch.”  Taking the time to craft a letter is often more powerful than the actual message itself. You’ll make a lasting impression whether or not you get the offer.

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