How and When to Say Thank You for Your Time

Knowing when and how to thank someone for the time they spend helping you advance your career is a sign of good manners and professionalism. When someone shares some of their time with you, it’s important to acknowledge that and thank them for it. Saying thank you in the right way and with the right words can help you build relationships with others that benefit your career.

Write a letter, handwritten note, or email to say thank you for your time because time is a valuable resource and people are busy. When someone shares their time with you, it’s important to acknowledge that and thank them for it. Consider these scenarios where knowing how to thank someone for their time is a valuable skill:

When You Get the Job Interview

Saying thank you for the time a hiring manager spends with you acknowledges that hiring people can be a slow process. By the time you get to the interview, the hiring manager has probably spent many hours reviewing applications, looking for the best candidate. When you send a follow-up thank you for your time email or letter, you acknowledge that. However, you can use the thank you letter for more than showing gratitude. The letter also gives you another chance to stand out from other applicants and to let the hiring manager know that you are still interested after the interview.

When you write to say thanks again for your time after a job interview, here are a few phrases to consider.

  • Thank you for the time you spent with me in the interview for the position.
  • I appreciate your taking the time to interview me for the position.
  • Thank you for the time you took to tell me more about the position.

When someone gives you a lead on an available job

If a friend or acquaintance hears about an available position and they take the time to let you know about it, that is worth the time to send a thank you for your time email or note. After all, it took time for your friend to learn enough about the position to think you would be a good fit. Then it took more time to relay that information to you. Knowing how to thank someone shows your gratitude for the efforts.

Here are a few good phrases for offering thanks in this situation.

  • Thank you for the time you spent researching that job opportunity and sharing it with me.
  • Thank you for keeping me in mind and letting me know about the opportunity.
  • Thank you for remembering me and my job search when you heard about the available job.

When someone serves as your reference or gives you a recommendation

When people agree to serve as a reference for you in your job search, they are agreeing to take the phone calls, respond to emails, or complete online reference forms. All of these tasks take time. Whether or not you get the job, a message to say thank you for the time is appropriate. You may also want to offer to do the same for them someday or offer your time in another way to show your appreciation. Here are a few ways to say thank you for the time you spent communicating with my potential employer.

  • I wanted to send this email thank you for your time; I know you are very busy.
  • Thank you for the time that you spent responding to the reference requests.
  • I appreciate your time in helping me move forward in my career by serving as a reference.

When someone gives you good career advice

Whether it’s a boss who tells you how to move up in the company or a friend who helps you make a career change, someone who takes the time to talk with you and give you good career advice deserves your appreciation. A quick note to say thanks again for your time lets your mentor know how much the career advice meant to you and how much it helped you. A letter or card is especially meaningful because the recipient can read it anytime they need a little boost. Here are a few ways to express your appreciation.

  • Thanks again for the time you spent sharing your knowledge of the company with me.
  • I appreciate your time you spent helping me learn from your experiences.
  • Thank you for taking the time to give me such good career development advice.

When you complete an internship

Companies that host interns deserve a thank you for the time they spend on the students they host. Internships are beneficial to help you learn more about a potential career field, but they require a great deal of time and attention from the host companies. Showing appreciation for the learning opportunity is not only polite, but it also makes you more memorable when a job opportunity comes up. Here are a few ways to say thank you for an internship opportunity.

  • Thank you for the time you spent with me during my internship.
  • I appreciate all the time and energy you put into the internship program at this company.
  • Thank you for hosting interns at this company and taking the time to teach the next generation of professionals in the field.
  • Thank you for the time you spend on offering this learning experience.

Dealing With A Coworker Who Might Lack Motivation

Business—like most of life—is a team sport. Companies succeed because people work together to create outcomes that no individual could accomplish alone. Learning how to create good team behavior is complicated because education (in general) is an individual sport. Throughout our years of school, we are given assignments to be done alone and are evaluated on our personal knowledge of the material.

There are good reasons to make sure that everyone in a class has learned the material. Still, it means that most of us don’t practice taking on group projects and particularly at developing strategies to ensure that everyone takes care of their responsibilities.

That is a particular problem when one of your colleagues is not carrying their share of the load. So what should you do when someone is slacking off?

Lead with empathy

An old finding in social psychology is called the “fundamental attribution error.” The idea is that when you explain the behavior of other people, you tend to assume that it has to do with some aspect of who they are rather than the situation they are in. Part of the reason that this is seen as an error is that when you describe the reasons for your own behavior, you tend to focus more on the impact of the situation rather than on your own traits.

When a colleague isn’t getting their work done, it is natural to think that they are lazy or that they don’t care about the work as much as you do. While that is possible, there might also be something going on in their life that makes it hard to complete the task.

When you notice that a team member has not gotten work done, start by asking how they’re doing. Particularly during the pandemic, many factors might make it hard for people to complete their assigned work. Many people are dealing with childcare and family care issues. Other people are dealing with illness in the family. And still, others are having to cope with anxiety and depression associated with the pandemic.

The more you understand about a colleagues’ situation, the more you’ll be able to figure out how you might be able to support them in the work that needs to get done.

 Look for bridgeable gaps

There are two key aspects to motivation that drive people to get things done. First, people are energized when they experience a gap between where they are right now and where they want to be. Second, energy has to be channeled into a specific set of actions that will allow the person to close that gap. A lack of motivation often reflects a problem with the gap, the bridge, or both.

When a colleague does not care about a project, they won’t have the motivational energy to work on it. Sharing why you think the project is important can help a colleague create their own gap. For example, there are times when a piece of a project you have been given may seem silly or irrelevant. The work you do may provide an important input to another aspect of the project that you are not aware of. If you are given more information about how your efforts play a crucial role in someone else’s work, you can energize you to get the work done.

At times, though, a colleague may understand why the work is important but may not really have all the knowledge or skills they need to make progress. Unfortunately, not everyone is good at admitting what they don’t know, and so they may procrastinate on a project, hoping someone else will take it over rather than getting the help they need to succeed.

If they are working in an area, you know well, talk about what steps they are taking to move a project forward. If they seem to be unsure of what to do, offer a few suggestions for moving their task forward. You might also suggest someone in the organization that would be a good mentor.

Ask for help

If those two steps don’t work, then it is time to work with a mentor of your own. Rather than just complaining to a supervisor that a colleague isn’t getting their work done, sit down with someone you see as an effective leader. Describe what you have done so far and ask for advice about how to proceed.

The main idea here is that you don’t practice leadership for the first time when you are given a role that requires you to lead. You have to develop those skills as early as possible in the work you do. Asking for help when dealing with difficult situations with colleagues demonstrates to other people in the organization that you are focused on solving problems rather than asking someone else to solve them for you. It also sends the message that you are willing to learn from other people. Those traits make you more attractive as a candidate for new responsibilities in the future.

How to Ace Your Job Interview

Acing an interview requires a certain set of skills. While your resume, experience, and expertise speak to your abilities, how you perform in an interview shows hiring managers your personality, character traits, and your ability to communicate and behave in a desirable manner. Here we explore what interview skills are and the top 15 skills you need to ace your next job interview.

Researching the company

You should never show up to a job interview with little or no knowledge about the company and the position you’re interviewing for. Before the interview, take time to thoroughly research the company and take notes of information you find especially appealing or that you have questions about. Not only does this ensure you know exactly what to expect if you are hired, but it also shows initiative on your part and demonstrates that you possess solid research skills to the interviewer.

Spending time preparing

You should avoid winging an interview at all costs. Many employers can quickly recognize a candidate who hasn’t spent time preparing for an interview, and this can ultimately have a negative impact on your chances of being considered for the position. Before you go to the interview, do the following to ensure you’re thoroughly prepared:

  • Re-read the job description and take notes of any areas you have questions about.
  • Look over your resume so you are familiar with how you initially presented yourself to the employer.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes practicing hypothetical interview questions with a friend or family member to get warmed up for the real thing.
  • Write down several examples of times in which you portrayed your skills and abilities as they relate to the job you’re interviewing for.

Dressing for success

Your outward presentation plays an important role in how an interviewer perceives you. Take time to select an appropriate outfit the night before your interview. If you’re unsure of what attire is appropriate, consider calling the human resources department of the company and asking what their preferred work dress code is.

Arriving on time

Arriving late to an interview could result in you missing out on being considered for the job. Make it a point to get to the interview at least 10 minutes early to ensure you make a positive first impression.

Practicing good body language

Your body language is an important form of communication, so take notice of how you use it during an interview. Good rules of thumb include maintaining eye contact, holding good posture throughout the interview, smiling often, and leaning forward slightly when responding to questions or engaging in conversation with the interviewer.

Asking questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the duration of the interview, whether they be related to an interview question or to the company or position. Asking questions encourages a two-way conversation and demonstrates that you care and are listening to what’s being said.

Thinking through your answers

Take time to think through your answers before responding to a question. This ensures that you’re providing the most effective and relevant answer possible and also helps you avoid uncomfortable ‘ums’ during the interview.

Taking notes

Taking notes is a great way to ensure you remember important information and to make sure you don’t forget to ask questions you think of while the interviewer is speaking. Bring a pen and pad of paper to the interview and take short-hand notes when necessary.

Using the STAR method

The STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, is a great way to effectively portray your skills and expertise to interviewers. Use this method when answering questions about your skills, experience, or previous work duties.

Portraying confidence

Exuding confidence in an interview will help you feel more comfortable and confident in yourself and will also show the hiring manager that you believe you’re truly suited for the position. However, be sure to not be so confident that it comes across as arrogance. Focus on being polite and thoughtful while also portraying a professional level of confidence throughout the interview.

Practicing active listening

When the interviewer is speaking, practice active listening by focusing solely on what they are saying, nodding your head at appropriate times and responding with well-thought-out answers.

Showing interest

Showing interest in the job and company is a great way to demonstrate your excitement about the job opportunity. Express the passion you have for that particular work and reiterate your interest in the position at the conclusion of the interview.

Using appropriate language

It’s important to keep your language professional during a job interview. Avoid using slang or curse words and speak in a clear and concise manner.

Emphasizing your strengths

Don’t be afraid to talk about your strengths continuously throughout the interview. Take advantage of any opportunities presented to provide examples of your strengths. If you feel uncomfortable talking about yourself in such a manner, spend some time practicing before the interview so you can do so in a polished way.

Expressing your thanks

Once the interview is over, don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time and consideration of you for the position. You should also send a thank-you note or email when you get home from the interview.

Tips to Stay Motivated Through a Pandemic Winter

In a world reshaped by the pandemic, we’ve all learned to make adjustments and create new routines to take care of ourselves and be productive. But things are about to get a little harder. As we slide into our first pandemic winter, many of the outlets we’ve turned to for relief, connection, and joy will become less accessible. Socially distanced meetups, outdoor exercise, open-air dining—it’s all a little more complicated when the temperature drops.

Mental health experts warn that winter during the coronavirus pandemic will pose some unique challenges. Seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that occurs in the winter months, affects an average of at least 5% of American adults even before you take COVID-19 into account. With the ongoing global health crisis, experts predict even more people will struggle.

Here are nine micro steps you can take to help you fend off loneliness, find motivation, and prioritize your well-being despite the wintry challenges ahead.

Stay Connected

Loneliness, isolation, and the attendant mental health challenges have been major byproducts of the pandemic. For the 35.7 million Americans who live alone, the prospect of a lonely winter may seem particularly bleak. Social connectedness is tied to both our physical and mental health; when we interact and engage with others we experience less stress, more happiness, a stronger immune system, higher motivation to take care of ourselves, and even improved memory and cognitive skills.

It takes a little creativity, but we can start taking small steps to maintain and strengthen our relationships—with both personal and professional benefits.

Start a Group Text With Friends

Science shows there’s power in consistent kinship, even if it’s a simple daily “thinking of you” message. Send that silly photo you took of your dog to your college friends or reach out to your old trivia crew when you come across something that reminds you of those geography rounds that always seemed to be your team’s downfall. Remind your friends you care, and they’ll remind you back.

Schedule a Virtual Coffee Break With a Friend

Social isolation can have powerful negative effects on your health, but spending time with others—even virtually—helps you stay connected. So when you’re feeling lonely, put a remote coffee date or catch-up session on the calendar. Or do it preemptively, before you start feeling isolated.

Ask Someone What They’re Doing to Take Care of Themselves and Stay Connected to Loved Ones

Social distancing can make us feel further apart, not just physically but emotionally. Bridge the distance with this simple question—you might learn something, or find you have something in common.

Establish Habits That Keep You Motivated and Productive

Those of us who thought working from home would lift us to new heights of productivity, focus, and accomplishment—well, we know how that turned out. Sure, working from home has its perks (goodbye, stressful commute!). But without the guardrails of going into the office and coming home, we’ve found ourselves in a world of boundaryless permawork—with longer days and more meetings—and are dealing with the burnout that comes with it. Our days are filled with back-to-back Zoom calls, little or no in-person interaction with coworkers, and more distractions at home from partners, kids, pets, and that pile of clothes we absolutely must sort before turning to our next work task.

Whether we’re working from home or going to an office this winter, these microsteps are great for making the most of our time and doing our best work.

Every Morning, Write Down the Top Three Things You Want to Accomplish That Day

Relentless prioritization is more critical than ever. Give yourself structure and clarity by focusing on three objectives every day—and when they’re done, you can declare an end to your work day, knowing you’ll come back tomorrow recharged.

Switch One Video Meeting to a Phone Call Each Day

Research has found that the sustained concentration required in video meetings means back-to-back Zoom calls will quickly tire you out and add stress to your day. Swapping one out for a phone call will give your eyes a break, and you can even pair the screen-free chat with a short walk around the neighborhood (or just around your room) to introduce movement into your day.

Do a Time Audit

At the end of the day, take two minutes to reflect on how you spent your time on work, family, household, and yourself. This exercise is an eye-opening way to look at your use of time and how you might make small improvements.

Make Sure You’re Not Forsaking Self-Care—and Fun!

We can’t do our best work if we don’t take care of ourselves. This might sound obvious, until you consider how our collective definition of success is pretty much synonymous with sacrificing our well-being, celebrating hustle culture and burnout, and generally running ourselves into the ground. But this approach to success wasn’t working before the pandemic, and it definitely isn’t working now.

So by all means, work hard, chase your ambitions, and be grateful for your opportunities. And know that when you prioritize self-care, you’re not stepping away from your goals—you’re fueling yourself so you can get where you want to go.

Set Time on Your Calendar to Focus on Small Passions Each Week

Make some time in your schedule to do something you love, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And stick to it. You wouldn’t miss an important meeting or doctor’s appointment, so treat this time with the same respect. You’ll begin to build the muscle of prioritizing the things that bring you joy.

Play an instrument, paint, write poetry, pull out your favorite video game, try a new recipe, look at the stars—whatever it is that fills you with joy, or purpose, or both. You might feel at first like you’re being bad—taking a few minutes for yourself, the horror! But in fact, studies show that pursuing passions outside your work can have benefits for your personal life and your career. (

Identify One Source of Negative Stress in Your Day

Before you can solve a problem, you have to name it. Pinpoint just one experience or scenario in your daily life that routinely creates negative stress. Interactions with a certain person? A moment in your day that always seems to be rushed and unpleasant? Once you recognize a pattern, you can begin to take steps to prevent stress from becoming cumulative and unmanageable—like taking a few breaths to reset, clarifying expectations with your colleague whose meetings tend to stress you out, or rearranging your schedule to smooth stressful transitions.

Do One Small Thing Each Morning That Brings You Joy

How you begin your day can set the tone for the rest of it—so make a conscious effort to do something that will start you off right. It might be meditating, walking, reading while you drink your coffee, making a breakfast you love, or trading stories about weird dreams with your kids. From this foundation, you’ll build up strength and resilience for the rest of your day—and the rest of this unusual winter.

Tips on Asking For a Raise

Asking your employer for more money isn’t easy, even when you know you deserve it. If you knocked it out of the park over the past year, took on more responsibilities or received a stellar performance review, it’s smart to talk to your manager about a pay increase.

We can help you find a new job, but if what you want is more money at the job you have — and you’re not sure how to start the conversation, your best bet may be to put your request in a letter asking for a raise.

Here are some examples of what you could write in an email asking for a raise along with tips to help you develop confidence about the message you want to send.

Do your salary research

You’re not going to get very far if the amount you ask for is not in line with the realities of today’s job market. Completing your own comprehensive research will help you understand what a competitive wage is for someone in your position and geographic location.

Researching the numbers will also demonstrate to your boss that your salary request is backed by real data versus your own subjective opinion.

Pick the right time

One of the first steps in knowing how to ask for a raise is identifying the best time in your company’s cycle to have the discussion. Does your company have a policy of granting pay raises only during performance review periods? Check your employee handbook for guidelines. In some cases, it won’t matter. But in others, it can be crucial.

Consider also whether your organization has had recent layoffs or a hiring freeze. The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected many businesses. If you bring up your pay when your company has just furloughed employees or is seeing reduced revenues, your appeal is likely to go nowhere fast, regardless of how amazing you are.

Make the request

When you’ve researched your salary range and chosen a good time to broach the subject, make the ask. Email your manager and explain that you’d like to connect to review your compensation. Outline your impact clearly and concisely. Prepare compelling bullet points that convey exactly how you’ve excelled in your current role.

Don’t mention what your coworkers make or any personal reasons you might have for needing more money.

Next in the letter, ask to meet with your manager to discuss the salary you’re seeking. If this is the first time your boss hears you want more money, set the stage appropriately. You might consider a sentence or two in an email, such as this: Could we have a short discussion to review my salary or devote a few minutes to that topic during our next one-on-one video meeting?

If you have a performance review coming up, it’s a good idea to ask ahead of time: Would it be OK if we discussed my compensation during my performance review?

And if you have already expressed the desire for an increase, you should go ahead and share it either as a percentage or as a dollar amount. Your email might include a line like this: We’ve discussed my wish for additional pay, and after some research, I’d like to request a salary increase of X percent.

Back it up

In a longer letter asking for a raise, provide context to explain how you landed on the salary figure you are providing. Numbers are convincing, so use them in the descriptions of your accomplishments: money saved, revenue earned, services improved, responsibilities taken on.

Just as you did in your salary negotiations when you interviewed for the job, your request should reflect the value you bring to the role, goals you’ve met or exceeded, results you have delivered, and industry averages based on your job skills and years of experience. It’s easier to put nerves aside when you feel ready to answer hard questions about why you deserve an increase.

Offer appreciation for the consideration

Remember to thank your manager for supporting you in your role and for considering your request.

After you hit send, be patient. Your manager may need to talk to a higher-up or HR before getting back to you. Those conversations and the resulting negotiations can take time.

Again, no matter the response you ultimately receive to your request, make sure to thank your manager for allowing you to express yourself — even if you don’t get what you were looking for. Seek clarity on what would be required for a future salary discussion, and set a time to check in again. Negotiating is a process. Putting your request in writing is likely just the first step, but if you make the ask, it can pay dividends.

Sample template of a letter asking for a raise

Dear (Name),

As my X-year anniversary gets close, I would like to formally request a review of my salary for my work as a (job title). During my time at (name of company), I have taken on additional responsibilities and have achieved success in several areas. I’ve made a brief list of just some of my accomplishments and responsibilities, which include the following:

  • Taking the lead on …
  • Meeting goals in …
  • Improving efficiencies that led to a savings of $X for the company …
  • Achieving success in …
  • Adding to my (skill level or education as it relates to the job) …

Aside from my X skills in this role, I have also demonstrated excellent X abilities and proficiency with X. The staff can count on me for X.

I enjoy my work here and appreciate the support you and the team have shown me. Given the added value I have brought the company, I think it is fair to request a bump in pay. Based on the research in the Robert Half Salary Guide, I’ve found that the midpoint salary (or median national salary) for this position is $X for my experience level. Considering regional variances, an X percent raise would put my compensation closer to those salary benchmarks.

Thank you for your consideration. I am willing to work with you to accommodate my request, taking into account what is best for the company. Please let me know if you are available for a short meeting.