How to Write a Letter of Appreciation (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 16 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Showing appreciation when someone assists you with something is an important professional etiquette. When you thank people for what they do for you, you not only make them feel good about themselves, but also encourage them to offer assistance in the future. Writing a letter of appreciation is a simple and effective way of expressing your gratitude to a person and encouraging them to do more. In this article, we define what a letter of appreciation is and describe how to write one.
What is a letter of appreciation?
A letter of appreciation is a message you send to someone to show your gratitude. You can send it to people who give you professional advice, job leads, mentorship, gifts and even junior employees who perform well in their roles.
Appreciation letters aren't only for professional settings, as you can also use them to show gratitude to people in your private life. If you can't reciprocate the favour, writing a letter of appreciation letter is an effective way to make a meaningful impact on people who are good to you.
How to write a letter of appreciation in 7 steps
Follow these seven steps to learn how to write a letter of appreciation:
1. Send it quickly
To ensure your appreciation letter has maximum impact on a person, it's advisable to write it one to three days after receiving the favour. Sending the letter during this period can demonstrate you're genuinely grateful and sincere about showing gratitude, increasing the chances that it makes a good impression on the recipient. Sometimes, you may forget to send the letter before the end of three days. In that case, it's still important to send the letter, except you decide to show gratitude personally.
2. Use the right format
When sending an appreciation letter, use a format that's suitable for your audience. Whether you're writing to a professional colleague or a friend, email is an acceptable format for showing appreciation, but the content may differ. If you want to send a physical letter to a professional contact, use a formal letter format, type the message on high-quality paper and mail it with a befitting envelope.
To make a powerful impression, such as when writing to a high-ranking executive after an interview, sending a physical letter not only shows gratitude, but can also show your respect for the person's office. For emails to friends and other informal audiences, you can write in a casual tone and use a freer format. You can even send hand-written notes to friends, so long as the medium of delivery, such as a card, looks presentable and the content is legible.
3. Use an appropriate greeting
It's essential to begin your letter with the right greeting as it sets the tone for the rest of the message. If you want to thank a professional contact, remember to start with the person's title. You can use Mr, Ms or the person's official title. Try to address the person by their name to add some personality to the message. For personal letters to friends and other people in your private life, it's appropriate to salute them with their first name, with a Dear prefix or any other suitable greeting.
4. Mention the purpose of the letter
In your introductory paragraph, mention your letter's purpose. That way, the recipient immediately knows the reason for getting your letter. Ideally, start with a short and direct sentence such as, Thank you for sending me the job lead for Max Company's position. I was just invited for an interview. Quickly establishing the purpose of your letter can put the recipient in a positive mood and encourage them to finish reading the document.
5. Be honest and specific
Use the rest of your letter to elaborate on the specific act of kindness you're grateful for. You can mention the impact the person's action had on your professional growth or personal life to reinforce your point and make a powerful impression on them. While writing the letter, it's important to be honest. Avoid exaggerating so the person doesn't feel as if you're flattering them to get more favours.
6. Reiterate your gratitude and sign off
End your letter by restating your gratitude. You can emphasise the impact the recipient's favour has had on your career or life. Conclude the letter with an appropriate closing for the audience. If you're writing to a professional contact, Sincerely, Yours Faithfully and Respectfully are acceptable ways to close the letter. You can be more flexible when writing to a friend. Type your name below the closing salutation if you're emailing the letter. For physical letters, sign the document by hand, then write your name below the signature.
7. Proofread your letter
Before sending the letter, proofread it carefully to avoid spelling, typing and grammar errors. Sending a clean, error-free appreciation letter not only presents you as a professional but can also demonstrate that you put some effort into writing the message. Besides looking for grammar and typing errors, it's also vital to check facts, names and titles so you can make a good impression on the recipient. Since it's difficult to be objective about your own writing, you can give the letter to an experienced person to review it and provide feedback for improvement.
Example letters of appreciation
Here are a few examples of appreciation letters you can use for a variety of situations:
Example appreciation letter to a superior
Here's an example of a letter of appreciation to a superior:
Dear Mr Lam,
I'd like to use this medium to express my gratitude for being patient with me on the last project. Even though I encountered unforeseen delays in the execution of my tasks, your understanding and support helped me regain my focus and deliver beyond the team's expectations. I deeply appreciate your ability to turn my mistakes into a powerful learning opportunity which has made me a better professional.
I want you to know that I value your guidance and mentorship and hope I can have the exemplary leadership qualities that allow you to have such an impactful influence on your team members. Thank you once again for always supporting me and showing understanding when others doubted me.
Example appreciation letter for outstanding performance
Here's an example of an appreciation letter for good work:
Thank you for helping the company meet its quarterly revenue goals. Your commitment to the company's interests and exceptional leadership qualities has set a new standard of excellence for all of us in this organisation. By committing yourself to reach that target and motivating your team to do the hard work, you have demonstrated that the firm has the talent and resources to out-compete its rivals without exceeding our operating expenses.
I noticed you practise a democratic style of leadership. We have a well-established chain of command in this organisation, but your exceptional success has prompted management to experiment with a bottom-up decision-making structure. The unique camaraderie in your team especially impressed the VP of Administration. He wants to replicate such cohesion and clarity of purpose company-wide. We hope you're going to lead the effort as we implement these new concepts.
Once again, I thank you on behalf of management and company stakeholders for a job well done.
Example appreciation letter to a supplier
Here's an example appreciation letter to a supplier:
Dear Ms Elizabeth,
I want to use this opportunity to thank you for taking an extraordinary effort to deliver our consignment to the factory last week. We understand that the accident at the pier disrupted the berthing of ships and made it difficult for longshoremen to perform their duties effectively. Still, you ensured strict adherence to our contract terms. For this, we're extremely grateful and assure you of our continued partnership for the foreseeable future.
If you hadn't delivered the shipment, the company risked losing a $50 million contract from a new customer. You don't realise how big a favour you did for our management, and we can't thank you enough for being a thorough professional.
Once again, please accept our sincerest gratitude.
Example letter of appreciation to a friend
Here's an example of an appreciation letter to a friend for support while searching for a new job:
I finally got a new job, and it's thanks to you. Remember the day we met for coffee at the shop near my house? You mentioned your uncle's shipping business was looking for someone with warehousing experience and promised to refer me to him. He called me for an interview and promised to keep in touch. I didn't hear from him for the past month, but I received a substantial offer two days ago from him. I'm starting the new role next week, and I would like to express my deep gratitude for pointing this opportunity my way.
I'm going to cherish our friendship forever.
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