Thank you note in envelopeA personal, handwritten "thank you" note can be the difference between getting the internship or job -- and being left without one. Students in either of the communication majors need to understand the importance of follow-up gratitude expressed immediately and personally.

A short, handwritten note sets you apart from your competition. It shows that you took the time to express your gratitude, look for an address, find a stamp, and send off a note. You demonstrate your thoughtfulness and appreciation to someone who took the time to interview, chat with, or mentor you. Being professional, in fact, includes showing your gratitude.

Other good advice includes making sure you send the note immediately, no more than a day or two after the meeting or exchange. In order to make it easier on yourself, purchase some correspondence cards on which you can write three simple sentences of thanks. In fact, your department has a stock of these cards and envelopes free to anyone who would like to send one!

Remember that every professional interaction you have with someone is critical -- and a personal thank you note becomes even more essential in this world of email and cybercommunication.