Writing a Thank-You Email for a Letter of Recommendation
Updated August 17, 2023
When someone in your professional life takes the time to write you a letter of recommendation, it's important to write them a thank-you email to show your appreciation. A personalized letter of recommendation from a previous employer or a professor can greatly improve your chances of securing employment. Learning more about writing an effective thank-you letter when you have received a letter of recommendation can help you develop your professional relationships and thank your contacts for their support.
In this article, we discuss reasons for writing a thank-you email for a letter of recommendation, review the steps to take to write an effective thank-you email, and provide several examples of thank-you emails for different situations.
Reasons to write a thank-you email for a letter of recommendation
There are many reasons to write a thank-you email for a letter of recommendation. A well-written letter of recommendation that discusses your strengths and accomplishments can be a tremendous asset to your job application. A personalized letter of recommendation takes time and effort to write, so if someone has written one for you, it's important to thank them. Sending a thank-you email lets that person know you appreciate their effort, and can help strengthen your professional relationship with them.
How to write a thank-you email after receiving a letter of recommendation
Here are the steps you can take to write your own thank-you letter once you have received a recommendation letter:
1. Send your email quickly
Try to send your thank-you email soon after you have received the letter of recommendation. By responding quickly, you show professionalism and demonstrate to the letter writer how much their efforts mean to you. If you want to give them an update when you receive a job offer, you can always write them another email later.
2. Choose the correct format
Your thank-you note for a letter of recommendation can be in forms other than an email. It's important to consider how you and the person usually communicate. If it's through email, then an email is the logical choice for your thank-you note. If you have reason to believe that the person might prefer a handwritten letter or a card, then you can send your thanks in this manner.
A letter or a card can be a physical reminder of your appreciation as well as a more personal way of saying thank you. Email is a faster and more efficient way of getting your message to the recipient. Remember that it's the content of the message that matters most rather than the means of sending it. If you're unsure which format to use, you can email first and then follow up with a physical letter.
3. Decide on a subject line
Every email begins with the subject line and it's typically the first thing the recipient sees. Ensure that the subject line effectively communicates what is in the email. For a thank-you email, the subject line can be as simple as "Thank you," or a more straightforward "Thank you for your letter of recommendation." If the recipient originally sent you the letter of recommendation in an email, you can respond to that email with your thanks. Keep your subject line short and concise, because you have space to explain yourself in the email's body.
4. Start with a greeting
You usually write a thank-you email to someone that you have a previous relationship with, so you can begin your email with a warm greeting such as "Dear [recipient's name]." If you have a close relationship with the recipient, you can use their first name. For most business contacts, you can refer to them as "Mr." or "Ms." and their last name.
5. Express your gratitude
You can start the first paragraph of your thank-you email by simply saying thank you to the recipient for the letter of recommendation they wrote for you. Be specific about the reason you are thanking them and be sincere in the way you say thank you. In the next few sentences, you can mention more about what the recipient has done for you, or explain why their letter is helpful. Here is an example of what the first paragraph of a thank-you email may look like:
"I am writing to say thank you very much for the thoughtful letter of recommendation you provided me for my job application at Orange Industries. You have always been a mentor to me and have helped me so much as I progress through my career. Your letter was such an important part of my application, and I'm sincerely grateful."
6. Provide an update
In the second paragraph, you can provide the recipient with an update about the job you applied for. It doesn't matter what stage of the hiring process you are in, just inform them you are using their letter of recommendation. You can always write them another letter after you secure the job to say thank you again. Here is an example of what the second paragraph of your letter may look like:
"I have sent in several documents to support my application to Orange Industries, and I have an interview scheduled for next week. I am sure that they're impressed with the summary of my accomplishments that you provided in your letter of recommendation. Thank you again for your kind words. I am going to keep you updated regarding my progress through the hiring process."
7. End with a formal closing and signature
To end your thank-you email, you can use any one of several formal closings, such as "Sincerely," "Kind regards," "Yours," or "Best." Choose a formal closing that best reflects your relationship with the recipient of the thank you email. Finish by writing your name and including your digital signature.
Examples of thank you emails for letters of recommendation
Here are several examples of thank you emails for letters of recommendation that you can use as a guide for writing your own:
Thank-you email for writing a letter of recommendation
This is an example of a thank-you email sent while you're still going through the hiring process:
Subject: Thank you for the letter of recommendation
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am writing to say thank you for the excellent letter of recommendation that you wrote for me to support my application to the Maple Tree Supply Company. You took the time to go over all of my strengths as an employee, and I'm very grateful for the specific examples of my accomplishments in the workplace that you provided. I always enjoyed working for you at Smith Supply Company, and am honoured that you speak of me so highly.
My application with the Maple Tree Supply Company is currently being reviewed, and I have an interview scheduled for two weeks from today. I plan to continue to update you on my progress. Thanks again for taking the time to write me a letter of recommendation, and I hope we can connect in the future.
Thank-you email after receiving a job offer
Here is an example of what a thank-you email might look like after you have received a job offer:
Subject: Letter of recommendation, Janet Daniels
Thank you so much for the letter of recommendation that you wrote for me to include in my job application to the Morel Gallery. Your letter was an important part of my job application, and during the interview, the manager specifically mentioned that it impressed him.
After my interview on Friday, they offered me a position as a curator at the gallery. As you know, it has long been my dream to work there in this position, and your letter of recommendation was an immense help to me in realizing it. I appreciate your kindness, and I can keep you updated on my progress in my new role.
Short thank-you email
Here is an example of a short email thanking the recipient for a letter of recommendation:
Subject: Thank you
Thank you for the letter of recommendation you wrote for my job application to Smythe Landscaping. I appreciate you took the time out of your busy day to do this for me. They scheduled my interview for next Wednesday. I can be sure to let you know how my interview goes.
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