Q: What is the proper etiquette for thanking someone who wrote a letter of recommendation for me for a new job? Four people from my previous job wrote letters for me to send out with my résumé — three are former colleagues and one is my former boss. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
A: The most appropriate form of thank you is to send each person a written thank-you note, placed in an envelope, stamped, and sent via US mail. This is better than sending an e-mail. Do this when you receive the letter of recommendation. Be sure to include a brief account of where you are in your job-seeking effort. If you have already given the references to companies, mentioning the places by name is a good idea. Who knows, one of your references may know someone at one of the companies and make a call on your behalf as well. In addition, after you land a job, you should again write to each person who gave you a reference to tell them the good news. Thank them again for their help in your job search and let them know that the search has been successful. Not only is writing both of these letters the courteous thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. The professional and courteous way you handled asking them to provide references will be a strong inducement for them to help you again in the future.