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Business Courtesy: Tips for Writing Thank-You Letters to Job References

written by: Faye Angeli Vitan•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 1/6/2011

Make your letter effectively express gratitude and sincerity with these tips on writing a thank-you letter to job references. No need to copy a thank-you letter from the internet; you can make a very personalized letter by following these simple tips.

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    Whether you were successful or not with your job application, thanking the people who serve as your job references is a must. You are already indebted to them just from indicating their names on your application. So the least you can do is to thank them for allowing you to list them as references.

    Your letter does not have to be grand, but it has to be sincere. It doesn't have to be as traditional as sending a handwritten letter through the postman. An e-mail can still express the same gratitude and sincerity.

    Here are sthank you 1 ome tips to help you write your thank-you letter.

    1. Make your letter timely. You can express your gratitude upon the agreement of the person to be a reference or you can also send it when you have learned the result of your application. Either way, you have to send your thank-you letters in a way that shows you are excited to let him or her know about the status of your application. Delay in expressing your gratitude means you are not as grateful as you should be.

    2. Inform whether you made it or not. The moment you choose the person for your job reference, he/she is already considered to be a part of your application. Therefore, it is an act of courtesy to make known the outcome of your application. If you were successful, state how much you look forward to the job. If your application was not successful, just write your letter in a hopeful note that perhaps you are meant for other jobs out there.

    Sample script of an unsuccessful application:

    "As much as I would love to be part of that company, maybe I am more suited to other positions in other companies."

    3. Be specific about the role of the job reference. To make sure that your letter sounds sincere, you have to emphasize that you know the importance of the role of the job reference in the application process. Simply mention that his/her referral was highly appreciated. If you're making a general letter to send to all the job references, put some effort into mentioning each person's name. This will make your letter sound more personal. thank you 2 

    Sample script:

    "Thank you, Ms. Nero, for putting in good words for me in my application."

    4. Make your letter simple and direct. You don't have to make your letter too emotional or too explanatory. If your application was not successful, do not make your letter sound resentful. Make the recipient feel that even if you have failed the application, you still value his/her effort to help you out. If your application was successful, you also don't have to overdo your thanks in such a way that it would seem it was his/her referral that landed you the job.

    5. State that you want him/her to be a job reference in the future. To further show your importance, state simply that you're hoping that he/she can still be your job reference in other instances. Indicate how much you value his/her effort and your hope that he/she would still be willing to help you out in the future.

    Sample script:

    "Your referral helped me a great deal in my application and I hope that you will still allow me to consider you as a job reference in the future."