How to Write a Letter of Appreciation

FT Contributor  | 

It’s common to write business letters for a variety of reasons, including accepting a job, giving your two weeks’ notice, and even asking for a raise. In a world of messages constantly zipping back and forth, people sometimes overlook the simple act of expressing gratitude.

A formal letter of appreciation is an excellent way to thank someone who has either directly or indirectly helped you. While writing letters of appreciation is a good habit to develop, you still want to make sure that you write them in a professional manner.

When to Write an Appreciation Letter

There are many different reasons to send an appreciation letter, including:

  • An employee expressing thanks to a coworker.
  • An employer thanking a supervisor for their job performance.
  • A manager thanking an employee for their hard work.
  • Thanking someone for providing a recommendation for a job.
  • Showing appreciation to a client or vendor for helping with a specific job or task.

If you find yourself needing to express gratitude or thanks in a professional setting, a properly written letter of appreciation is a respectful way to do so.

How to Write a Letter of Appreciation

Certain events, like handing in your two weeks’ notice, are best done via a formal letter only. However, in the case of a letter of appreciation, you may use either a physical letter or an email. The contents of the letter should generally follow the same format in both scenarios.

The basic components of an appreciation letter are:

  • The greeting.
  • The body of the letter.
  • The closing.

As with all formal business letters, try to be succinct. As you compose the letter, make sure to resist the urge to list a long string of accomplishments or heap excessive amounts of adulation on the recipient. Instead, highlight a few key points of appreciation.

Greeting

Open your letter with a brief salutation. This can be either strictly formal or business casual, depending on how well you know the person.

For instance, a manager thanking a fairly new employee for their participation in a project would write something like “Hi Jane Doe,” or “Dear John Smith.”

If you’re writing to an old colleague who gave you a helpful reference in a job application, you can take a more casual approach by using their first name only, like “Hi George,” or even simply “George.”

Body

The body of the letter is where you sincerely and directly thank the person for their efforts. It’s important to be specific. Simply saying “thanks for your help” won’t be very impactful.

A more detail-oriented approach such as, “Your commitment to staying late and generally go above and beyond as you wrote code for the new software is greatly appreciated,” or, “The time you spent going out of your way to care for the client,” shows that you were paying attention to their efforts.

Closing

Your closing should be brief, but it should also serve as a chance to re-express your thanks. Take the opportunity to reiterate your appreciation.

If you know the recipient well, consider using a warm yet professional closing phrase like “Warm regards,” or “With appreciation.”

If your relationship is strictly professional, you can stick to a formal closing such as “Sincerely,” or “Cordially.”

Letter of Appreciation Tips

Along with following the proper format, here are a few other tips and suggestions to keep in mind as you compose your letter:

  • It’s important to send a letter of appreciation promptly. Don’t wait for weeks or even more than a few days — it may come across as insincere.
  • Make sure to carefully edit your letter before sending it. Proofread for grammar and make sure that your salutation, closing, and overall tone are appropriate for the scenario.
  • Don’t be too wordy. Even if you’re singing their praises, you don’t want to take up the reader’s time with unnecessary information or unrelated praise. Make sure to remain brief and sincere.

Appreciation Letter or Email Samples

If you’re hesitating when it comes to actually composing your appreciation letter, don’t worry. Below are two templates, one for physical letters and another for emails. Simply copy the one you need and fill out the information for your own specific scenario.

Physical Letter of Appreciation Template

[Your full name.]
[Your address.]

[Date.]

[Recipient’s full name.]
[Recipient’s address.]

Dear [Name of recipient],

I am writing to thank you for your help during [outline scenario during which the person helped you. Be specific in your praise.].

I sincerely appreciate the valuable services you provided and look forward to working together in the future. [Again, feel free to personalize this conclusion. Take time to reiterate your thanks.]

Cordially,

[Your hand-written signature.]

[Your typed signature.]

Email Letter of Appreciation Template

Subject line: Thank you for your help! [Tailor this to your scenario. Be succinct and informative regarding the contents of the email.]

Dear [Name of recipient],

I am writing to thank you for your help during [outline scenario during which the person helped you. Be specific in your praise.].

I sincerely appreciate the valuable services you provided and look forward to working together in the future. [Again, feel free to personalize this conclusion. Take time to reiterate your thanks.]

Cordially,

[Your typed signature.]


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