Thank You Letter to a Mentor: Definition, Tips and Example

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 November 2021

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.

Having a professional mentor can make a significant difference in your career and give you the tools, knowledge and support to succeed. If you have a mentor, you might consider sending them a letter to thank them for their guidance. Learning about the key components of a mentor thank you letter can help you when writing your own. In this article, we explain what a thank you letter to a mentor is, provide reasons to thank your mentor, suggest when to send one and provide tips, a template and an example you can use to write one.

Related: 101 Examples of Ways to Say "Thank You for Your Support"

What is a thank you letter to a mentor?

A thank you letter to a mentor is a note you send to your mentor expressing your gratitude for their help and support. Mentor thank you letters give you an opportunity to reflect on an experience you had with them and let them know how much it meant to you. You can write a physical letter to your mentor or send a formal email using a basic business letter format.

Related: Professional Business Letter Format (With Examples)

Reasons to thank your mentor

Thanking your mentor is a personal experience, and there are many reasons you may choose to send your mentor a letter. If possible, focus on a single meaningful event. You can also focus on the entire mentorship by acknowledging the lengths to which your mentor went to help you. Here are some reasons to send your mentor a thank you letter:

To preserve a positive mentoring relationship

When your mentor realises the effect their guidance has had on your professional life, they may feel inclined to stay in contact with you to follow your progress. In the future, you may have an interest in consulting your mentor again for help taking the next step in your career. If you have an establishing relationship with a mentor who helped you in the past, you may feel comfortable contacting them again to see if they're available for another mentorship.

Related: How to Build Relationships at Work: A Step-by-Step Guide

To give something back to your mentor

Having a mentor can be a fulfilling experience for you that often has a lasting impact throughout your career. Many mentors find the opportunity rewarding, but taking the time to thank them in a letter allows you to give them the satisfaction of knowing how they've helped you. They can keep the letter to use as inspiration for mentoring others or helping you again in the future.

To remind your mentor of your skills and personality

Most mentors have senior roles in their industries, which is what makes them qualified to mentor you. If they're looking for a professional to fill a role on their team, they may remember your thank you letter and determine whether your skills and personality make you a good fit for the role. They may also recommend you to their colleagues who have open positions in their departments.

Related: 14 Essential Leadership Roles to Improve Your Skills

When to send a thank you letter to your mentor

You can send your mentor a letter at any time, but it may have a greater impact if you send it in response to a special event that relates to the mentorship. Here are some events that may prompt you to write a thank you letter to your mentor:

When they've agreed to be your mentor

Sending a thank you letter at the beginning of your mentorship can help you establish a relationship with your mentor. By showing your mentor your appreciation for agreeing to mentor, they may feel motivated to make the experience as helpful as possible for you. A thank you letter also recognises that you understand the significant undertaking mentoring someone can be and that you respect their time and consideration.

After learning something especially meaningful

You might consider sending a thank you letter after you learn something important during your mentorship. Recognising a particular moment tells your mentor how much it mattered to you. You might describe how you plan to use the knowledge or skills you learned during that experience throughout your career.

After you get an interview or job

The goal of mentorship is to learn valuable information about how you can advance your career and succeed professionally. If your mentorship led to a major event in your professional life, such as an interview or job offer for a promotion, consider writing your mentor a thank you letter to share your exciting news. They may find it fulfilling that you benefited from the mentorship and feel grateful for your acknowledgement.

At the end of your mentorship

After your mentorship, you can end your time with your mentor positively by sending them a thank you letter. Review some of the important lessons you learned and explain how you plan to use them to help you move forward in your career path. This allows you to show your mentor your appreciation and may make you more comfortable contacting them again in the future for mentorship or job opportunities.

Tips for writing a sincere mentor thank you letter

While just sending a letter can have a positive impact, there are some steps you can take to make it more meaningful. Here are some tips that can help you convey your thoughts effectively and show your mentor how much the experience means to you:

Be genuine

By expressing your appreciation in a sincere way, you can ensure your letter has a positive impact on your mentor. Use words that show your genuine intentions and address your mentor by name. This allows your mentor to understand how important the experience was to you.

Example: "I want to express my sincere appreciation for mentoring me, Dr Philips. Your insight has had a lasting impact on my professional life."

Provide specific examples

When writing a thank you letter about a particular event or experience within your mentorship, be sure to include details. If you're writing a general thank you note, mention some aspects of the mentorship you value the most. This shows the mentor their positive impact on your life and can help them when mentoring others in the future.

Example: "Ms Smith, thank you again for providing me with support through my internship at First Financial. I'll use the advice you gave me about presenting to investors for years to come."

Offer to help

Mentors act selflessly by offering their support to help others succeed in their careers. One way to express your gratitude is by offering to help them as a way of saying thank you for their kindness. Even small gestures may mean a lot to a mentor because they show them how important their role is in your life.

Example: "Mr Li, as a thank you for your mentorship and the valuable lessons I learned during the experience, I want to offer my time to help you prepare for the conference next month. Please let me know what I can do to make getting ready for your keynote speech easier."

Template for a mentor thank you letter

Here's a template you can reference when writing your mentor a thank you letter:

Dear [Mentor's name],

First Paragraph: [Begin with a statement explaining why you are writing this letter. This paragraph should also give an overview of how you have changed because of your mentor's influence. This paragraph should be no more than four sentences long and get straight to the point.]

Second Paragraph: [This paragraph should explain the background of your reason for sending this letter. Clearly dictate whether it is because of a specific event or for a more general reason. Use concise statements with familiar references that your mentor can understand. This section helps you lead the reader into the next paragraph of the letter.]

Third Paragraph: [The last paragraph should explain the benefits you've experienced since the event. Make it clear that your mentor has had a positive impact on you. Also, offer a method of appreciation or assistance in the future if applicable. It is a way of giving back to your mentor.]

Regards,

[Your name]

Example of a mentor thank you letter

Here's an example of a thank you letter you can use as inspiration when crafting a letter to your mentor:

Dear Mr Pak,

I am writing to you to say how grateful I am for the mentorship you've given me over the past year. Having the opportunity to learn from you has made a substantial change in my career. When we first began working together, I never imagined I would be able to make as much progress as I have. Thanks to you, I moved up to a management position in the company.

Your training in team management showed me a new path to improving operations. Before working with you, I struggled to lead a small team. Thanks to the time we spent planning team-building best practices, I can effectively lead an entire department.

Having you as a mentor has changed my life for the better. I truly appreciate everything that you have done for me. If there is any way that I can repay you, please let me know. I look forward to working with you in the future.

Regards,

Jane Howard

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