Q. When thanking several people for something on a written document, what is the correct way to list their names? Who should go first, second, third, etc.?
A.First, I applaud you for being smart enough to write any kind of document that includes a thank you. In the worlds of job search and business, the thank yous are too often forgotten. In offices where thank you cards, letters, and even emails are received, reactions are very consistent. When people get a thank you in writing – especially one they did not expect, they pass them around, mention how thoughtful someone was and reinforce everything about that person in a positive way. This helps you if you are a candidate for a job, and if you are already a member of the organization.
If you are sending thank you letters (or emails) after an interview, I suggest you send each participant his or her own letter. Though these letters will have common language, they should not be identical. You want to be able to say something that relates to the conversation you had, and acknowledge that persons contribution to the process. Were they especially knowledgeable about a topic of mutual interest? Did they have insightful answers to some of your questions? Remember these letters will most likely be compared, so stay equally positive, professional, and take the opportunity to reinforce why you have a significant interest in the role, the team, the company, and the success you would bring.
You may want to mention someone you had only a brief interaction with, and may not warrant a letter of his or her own (although there is no harm here), and in that situation, you can add a line saying “Please express my appreciation to Scott – his coordination of the logistics of our meetings was masterful.”
If you still find you need to send a group letter, hierarchy rules. The most senior person is addressed first, followed by others in order of title, or if the person to whom you would report is included, I would list them second.
You may also choose to address the letter to the senior most person, and ask him or her to share your thanks with the individuals, and list their names. People appreciate recognition, and the people who share it.