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How to Write a Thank You Note to Your Mentor

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All of us find inspiration and guidance in the world to motivate us and help us achieve our goals. While it feels great to be independent and self-reliant, it is important to acknowledge the contribution by others in getting us where we are in our lives right now. It is not possible for us to always achieve everything by ourselves. There are people who help us along in our efforts. They could be friends, family, teachers, mentors, and so on. Expressing due gratitude to these individuals for their assistance towards us validates their efforts and lets them know that you appreciate them and what they’ve done for you.

Mentors touch our lives in ways that stay on in our memory. It is common for people to still remember mentors that encouraged them back in their youth as grown adults. It doesn’t matter how you came across their mentorship, whether in a professional set-up or in a personal relationship – you ought to thank them for looking out for you all the same. One of the simplest and easiest ways to do this is by sending across a thank you note to mentor.

How Should a Thank You Note to Mentor Be?

A thank you note to mentor is a letter intended to express your appreciation towards them. Thank you notes are generally sent after a specific event or circumstance that touched your heart. However, this doesn’t always necessarily need to be the case. You can send your mentor a thank you note long after their contribution towards you. They will welcome and derive joy from the gratitude you express in it all the same.

Your thank you note to mentor can either be electronic or handwritten. These thank you notes generally follow a traditional letter structure, but you are free to keep it as short or long as you want. Make sure you indicate a handful of specific circumstances where you valued your mentor’s intervention for them to understand well why you are taking the time to thank them.

Why Should You Write Your Mentor a Thank You Note

As discussed, you can thank your mentor for specific events and opportunities that they helped you in or thank them for their overall mentorship. People send their mentors thank-you notes for several reasons. Some of them are –

  • To give back to them – The act of mentorship is often ample reason for an individual to participate in it. However, when a mentee sends them a letter to thank and appreciate them for their services, the takeaway becomes more tangible for the mentor. In addition, this letter becomes an item that they can store and cherish over time as they look back upon the relationship you shared.
  • To preserve your relationship – When you send across a thank you note to mentor, you let them know that you recognize their contributions in your growth and development. Acknowledging this contribution can help you sustain the relationship between you and your mentor into the future. You might require their advice and guidance later in your life. If you want to be able to reach out to them years from now, it will help to leave them thinking positively of you.
  • To refresh their memory about your skill-set and personality – Mentors often tend to be industry leaders and experts. As such, you could consider directly working for them. A thank-you note to mentor can help your prospects in this regard. A thank you note can be a critical piece of document that improves your hiring prospects for the recruiter. If put together well, you could convey the positive aspects of your personality and the skills you possess using it.

While you can send your mentor a thank you letter absolutely anytime, these letters are more effective when they coincide with a particular event. Consider sending a thank you note to mentor in the following situations –

  • When they assent to mentoring you
  • After they’ve taught you something especially valuable
  • After you’ve gained in the form of a job interview, job or similar win
  • After their stipulated mentorship period has ended
Thank You Note To Mentor

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How to Go About Writing a Thank You Note to Mentor

Deciding to write your past mentor a thank you note out of the blue and sticking with this decision might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. Your mentor likely witnessed you grow and mature, so there’s no need to feel awkward about trying to re-connect with them. You may not have been in touch with your old mentor for years now, but they are probably going to appreciate your wanting to reach out anyhow. Don’t overthink your decision and send your mentor that thank-you note you always wanted to leave them. They are going to appreciate your thoughtfulness and feel proud of the person they helped you become.

  • Don’t hold back – Even if you intend to keep the tone of your letter formal and professional, writing a letter to someone can be an incredibly intimate act. You might feel uncomfortable when it comes to expressing your vulnerabilities, but know that it takes courage and humility to express yourself with honesty. Don’t let your worries and anxieties about how they might receive this communication get in the way of sending it out. Follow through and send them this note filled with gratitude. The worst that could happen is that you wouldn’t receive a response, but at least you got to express how you felt, right?
  • Scribble down ideas – When sitting down to draft a thank you letter for your mentor, you want to jot down the ideas that occur in your mind. You want to make a note of all your feelings and emotions along with every other detail you’d like to convey and then edit this. Don’t ramble on in your thank you note. Be heartfelt but precise at the same time. You don’t want your mentor to lose interest one paragraph into reading your thank-you note now, do you?
  • Set aside a time for writing this letter – You want to write your thank you note to mentor when you have free time available in your daily schedule. Don’t rush it and make time for it, especially when you are less likely to have other concerns to attend to, or have other people disturb you. You want to focus your attention on writing this letter when you sit down to do it. There’s no point in sending out an insincere thank you letter half-willingly.
  • Write a portion of it and leave it be – Often, we tend to get carried away with our emotions when writing a letter. So, when you find that you’ve written a significant portion of your thank you note, walk away from it. Revisit it at a later time, so you can view it neutrally and make changes to it as desired from a distanced perspective.
  • Re-read and make your final edits – Re-read this half-written letter another time and look out for ideas you’d rather not include and general grammatical errors/mistakes. You can then make these desired edits from a refreshed mindset.

Post your thank you note to mentor – Make sure that you have their correct delivery address before posting your letter across to them. If you aren’t sure of the address, you can always try to get in touch with them prior to sending forth your thank-you note and confirming it with them. After all, there’s no point in writing and sending your thank you note to mentor only to have it delivered to the wrong address.

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