We live in a Go-Green era, where paperless communication is encouraged and often the status quo. Sending an email is a quick, inexpensive and convenient way to express thanks. You can immediate follow up with a meal, interview or act of kindness by sending an email directly to someone's inbox.
...But the meaning of thanks can often be lost in the oblivion of email. A thank-you email does not require any follow up, but do you really want it sandwiched between a work deadline or the 2-for-1 Viagra SPAM email? Case-in-point.
5 Benefits of Hand-Written Notes
1) Perpetuity: Days, weeks, or months latter the card may still be resting on the recipient's desk, which keeps you in constant memory of that person. How many emails do you think they will receive during that time?
2) Thoughtful Preparation: Hand-written cards show that you took the time to find the correct address and put pen-to-paper. Yes, it can be tedious, but that's what makes it more rewarding for the recipient.
3) Hierarchy of Communication: I believe that thank-you notes are a step below the highest form of communication: personal interaction. Click here to see the model.
4) Breakaway from the Competition: Are you sending an email after an interview? ...Well are you aware that established companies and even universities keep files of potential candidates? ...If you don't make the first-cut that thank-you card may help you in the future.
5) Follow the Leaders: During my undergraduate studies and even today, I occasionally receive thank-you notes from Brown University President Ruth Simmons. For example, I sent her a copy of 2007 calendar and shortly afterwards, I received a note in the mail. I imagine that she receives a lot of mail, emails and has a lot of meetings. ...However, she still took the time to put pen-to-paper and I still have those cards today. The cliché holds true: imitation is the best form of flattery. ...If you want to follow the leaders and eventually become one, why not start by writing hand-written thank-you notes?