How To Write an Appreciation Letter: a Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 September 2021

At various points in your working life, you may need to write someone a letter of appreciation. These are used to acknowledge the efforts of someone who did something thoughtful or memorable. Given that it may not always be possible to express gratitude in person, a letter of appreciation is often the best way of letting someone know that their actions were impactful. In this article, we explain how to write an appreciation letter and why they're important.

Related: How To Write a Motivation Letter

What is a letter of appreciation?

In a professional setting, letters of appreciation allow you to express your gratitude for someone else's efforts. They're generally less than a page in length and act as a formal acknowledgement of what someone else did. There are many different times when a letter of appreciation might be appropriate. For instance, you might receive a gift from a business contact, be given valuable advice or be provided with professional connections. These might have a significant impact on your working life, and it's often a good idea to show your gratitude with a letter of appreciation.

How to write an appreciation letter

If you're wondering how to write an appreciation letter, you can follow the list of steps below:

1. Be prompt

A thank-you letter is something that ought to be written and sent soon after the interaction in question. This could be a job interview, someone doing you a favour, or simply acknowledging the efforts of an employee. Generally, try to write and send the letter within three days of the event you're writing about. This allows you to reconnect with the person before they forget the interaction and shows them that you're conscientious and sincere. However, even if you do take longer than three days, it's still better to send a late letter than none at all.

2. Select a suitable format

Whom you're writing to has a significant impact on how your letter is written. If the recipient is a professional connection, your letter is going to be more formal than if they're a friend or close colleague. The way your last interaction went can indicate how friendly your letter ought to be. You also need to choose between sending it electronically as an email or attachment or whether it's worth printing it out on physical paper. You may feel like writing it out by hand. Remember to keep the effort you put into it proportional to the favour you received.

Related: Business Letter Format and Example

3. Start with an appropriate greeting

Depending once again on how well you know the person, you ought to greet them differently. For instance, if they're your superior at work, an important business contact or a client, it might be best to address them with a formal salutation like 'Dear Mr Smith'. This is also the best approach for people whom you don't know very well. However, if they're a friend or someone you're on first-name terms with, you can start with something more informal, such as 'Hello David'.

How you address the recipient sets the tone for the rest of your letter. It ought to fit with the format you've already chosen and be appropriate to the person you're sending it to.

4. Explain why you're writing

After you've addressed the recipient by name, you ought to state the purpose of your letter within the first couple of lines. If you're unsure of whether they're going to remember you, then you can start the letter by briefly introducing yourself. You can then proceed to state the purpose of your letter.

Example: My name is Emma Johnson, and you interviewed me on Monday. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to meet with me and for being so accommodating. I very much enjoyed the conversation and am very grateful for your advice and candour.

Related: How To Start a Professional Letter

5. Go into some detail

In many cases, other people may not immediately realise how helpful they were to you. There may have been positive consequences to their actions that they didn't witness, or it may have simply meant a lot to you. The reason you're writing a letter of appreciation is to give a more comprehensive account of why you're grateful and to show them how they helped. This also allows you to personalise the letter. For instance, if you're writing such a letter after an interview, going into detail allows you to stand out among the other interviewees.

Example: I greatly enjoyed our conversation on the merits of interdisciplinary educational methods in secondary schools. Your own thoughts and suggestions on the matter were quite incisive and worthy of further consideration. Soon after our meeting, I looked into the matter further. I was delighted to discover a dedicated programme being offered in our local area.

Thanks to our meeting last week, we may now be re-evaluating some of our classes. I cannot thank you enough for your input and would be delighted to meet with you again to discuss further possibilities.

6. Conclude the letter

Towards the end of your letter, you can reiterate how grateful you are for their help. You can relate this to the impact that their actions had, what this means in the immediate future and whether you'd like to contact them again. Remember that letters of appreciation are also a good networking opportunity, so it's usually a good idea to maintain some communication with noteworthy individuals. Once you've done this, you can close the letter appropriately and leave your full name and any relevant contact details.

At the end of your letter, it's a good idea to include a hand-written signature. You may type your name out below this for the sake of clarity as well. A proper signature shows how important the letter is and is also a nice personal touch. If you're sending the letter electronically, there are ways of uploading your signature and adding it to a document electronically, such as in a PDF or similar file type.

Example: Your ideas have opened up a variety of new possibilities for me personally. I've been looking into expanding my own personal horizons to be capable of offering interdisciplinary teaching. I am making enquiries and looking into additional courses.

Your thoughts have inspired me and reinvigorated my passion for teaching. I'd be very happy to meet with you again and hope we can stay in touch.

Best regards,

Emma Johnson

Related: How To End a Letter

7. Proofread your letter

Before sending any letter, you ought to take the time to proofread it. If possible, do this some time after you've finished writing. This allows you to check for any grammar or spelling mistakes and enables you to make any alterations you feel necessary. Try to read your letter from the point of view of the recipient and ascertain how well received it's going to be received. Determine whether the language and formatting are appropriate to the relationship you have with this individual. If you feel you could improve it, make any necessary adjustments and then proofread it again.

Tips for proofreading your appreciation letter

Proofreading your letter of appreciation before sending it is a very important step. This is still a professional letter and ought to appear as such. Below is a list of tips to help you ensure the letter is appropriate and well-written:

  • Read it out loud**:** A simple way of checking how a letter is going to sound to the recipient is to read it out loud. Things often sound different in your head than how they'd be received, and this trick can help you identify areas for improvement.

  • Get someone else's input**:** After you've finished proofreading your letter yourself, you can ask a friend or family member to look at it. They can offer you constructive criticism and advice on possible improvements.

  • Read it backwards**:** When you read through something you've just written, you might inadvertently miss some minor mistakes within the overall flow of the letter. Reading it backwards from bottom to top interrupts the flow and allows you to focus on the grammar and spelling.

  • Adjust the formatting**:** As long as it means that the letter is still confined to one page, you could increase the spacing or choose a different font. This makes it easier for you to read and can also make it more readable for the recipient.

Explore more articles