The impact of a handwritten letter

Think about how many emails, Facebook messages, or tweets you scan through on a daily basis. Every single day, we interact with people on a digital platform in some way or another…and after a while, it all starts to blend together into a giant mass of digital communication overload. But how often do you receive a handwritten postcard or letter?

I don’t THINK it’s because I’m a huge loser, (although I could have a very misinterpreted opinion of myself), but I become over-the-top, embarrassingly giddy when I receive any sort of holiday card, post card or handwritten letter via snail mail. I know that this form of correspondence is quickly becoming (or has already become) obsolete, but that’s what makes it even more powerful, now, in 2012.

Now is the time to utilize this resource to your advantage – to send those thank you notes after an interview, to send a “just because I’m thinking of you” card to an old friend or co-worker – before we don’t have it at our disposal anymore, and we lose just one more chance to stand out from the crowd.

Here are some tips for who to consider, and how to approach it when thinking about sending handwritten notes:

Interviewer/Potential Employer

If you are interviewing for a job, in all likelihood, you’re not the only candidate going through the process with the same awesome company. Most candidates will send a follow up email after meeting with potential employers, which is fine… if you want to be LAME. Try sending a handwritten thank you card. Write it the day after your interview so that it arrives 2-3 days later (ish). This gesture stands out, it shows effort, and will most likely give you an extra leg up on your email-sending competition.

Networking Contact

Send a random “just-checking-in” or a thank you letter to a contact you’ve come across during your job search (you still have their business card, right?) Not only is this good networking and professional sense, it’s also a chance to show people that you’re not just completely exploiting them for professional reasons! These cards should be very personalized, as no one likes a generic card (or else you may as well have just sent the email). Maybe this person helped to originally connect you with some job interviews… let them know that you still appreciated their help, no matter how much time has gone by!

Previous Co-interns/Classmates

This is a group that often gets overlooked, and it might be one of the most important ones to include. In college, what people don’t realize is that your classmates are your future colleagues…not just your hungover drinking buddies. These people are going to be most likely to have your back when it comes time to starting a career. They have grown with you throughout your academic and pre-professional development, and generally have a stronger bond with you and other alumni than people you meet outside of these groups. Send a card to stay in touch. Sure, they may think, “what a dork,” after opening it… but they will definitely remember it, smile, and think you’ve got even more charisma for taking the time to send it! These cards can be funny, twisted, sick and/or lighthearted (depending on who it’s for)… no need to be professional and classy ALL the time!


I include this group because when I receive holiday cards from my friends or family, it puts the biggest smile on my face. Like I said before, I may be a huge weirdo for getting excited about random just-because cards from a parent/aunt/uncle/friend/whatever, but I don’t think I’m the only one! Send a letter and put a smile on someone’s face. (Thank you, Linn, for my postcard from Barcelona)!

Happy letter writing!

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