Knowing how to write a thank you for a letter of recommendation is just as important as the letter itself. An employer is by no means required to write a letter of recommendation for a former employee. In doing so, they are performing an act of goodwill, and are owed a great deal of courtesy in return. Simply taking the time to write the letter deserves thanks in itself. Ideally, a thank you letter should be delivered within one week of receiving a letter of recommendation; taking any longer makes the letter seem insincere.
From a professional standpoint, a well written letter of thanks helps to maintain a good relationship with a former employer. Things do not often go as planned, and you may end up working for a former employer again in the future. With that in mind, a strong thank you letter can make all the difference in getting rehired.
As a general rule of thumb, a letter of thanks should be about the same length as the letter of recommendation itself – 150-250 words is ideal. It should consist of a short introduction, a main body paragraph, and a very brief conclusion. However, this style of letter is less formal than many others, and the author can separate the main body into multiple paragraphs if desired.
Greeting and Introduction
Begin the letter with “Dear” and then the name of the recipient. Even in a professional context, this is a direct expression of gratitude to a specific individual. Start a new paragraph, and in your first sentence, establish the purpose of your letter. Specifically state that you want to give thanks for the letter of recommendation. Be sure to also thank the individual for taking time out of their schedule to write the letter.
The main focus of the body should be a reflection on the time spent in your previous organization. Go into detail on what you truly enjoyed about your former position, and also what you will miss about it. Do not seem eager to move on to another position. Instead, reflect fondly on your old duties, and mention that you are grateful to have had such an opportunity.
Concisely reiterate your thanks for the letter itself in a single sentence, and also thank the individual for the time they have invested in writing it. Begin your signature with “Sincerely,” and only sign your name. Do not use job titles.