I recently met with an old colleague, Hicham, to catch-up over coffee. Hicham and I didn’t just work together — he hired me at my first tech company when I was struggling to shift out of the finance industry.
We made our way through the normal rounds of chit-chat — reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” and sharing what we’re up to now. Nothing too out of the ordinary.
But then Hicham changed the subject and caught me off guard: “You know, I still have that thank-you letter you wrote me.”
He was referring to the handwritten note I’d sent him, along with three other interviewers, thanking each of them for their time and consideration for the position I’d interviewed for in 2010.
We eventually changed topics, caught up a bit more, and parted ways.
But as I walked back to my apartment, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Hicham had said. Our casual catch-up led me to a powerful realization: Until now, I hadn’t even been aware of the greatest investment I’ve ever made.
How long did it take me to write, address, and stamp four thank-you notes and drop them into a mailbox? 30 minutes, max.
What was the return on investment for those 30 minutes? I’m struggling to put a number on breaking into the tech industry, working alongside incredible people for five years, and ultimately learning the skills to start my own consulting company.
Admittedly, sending a handwritten note is pretty easy. At the same time, though, it’s just as easy not to do it. And I think that’s why Hicham hung onto that piece of paper. I was the only candidate who made a personable, memorable connection that set me apart from the pack.
Who do you care about? Maybe it’s an old mentor. Or a friend who helped you through a tough time. Or a new customer you met at a conference.
Write them a note — they might just remember it 9 years later.
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