Janice Richard—Getty Images
By Maria Baugh / LearnVest
October 26, 2015

From the Pony Express to the invention of dial-up, technological progress has always influenced the ways we communicate.

But today there are so many more ways to interact than ever before.

In any 15-minute period, you could be texting your boss, sending a Facebook message to your childhood friend, popping a birthday card in the mail, emailing a colleague in another country and FaceTiming with your grandparents for their anniversary.

All of these options certainly make connecting easier, but they also create confusion. Just because you can do something faster, is that the way to go?

It gets particularly tricky when you are job hunting and you meet someone influential in the business world who could actually make or break your next career move.

Would handwriting a thank you letter create the best impression, or is it over the top? Would sending a quick email show your enthusiasm and appreciation, or would it be considered overly casual and rude?

For insights, we asked two business etiquette experts to weigh in on the dos and don’ts of the proper, professional thank you.

All of these options certainly make connecting easier, but they also create confusion. Just because you can do something faster, is that the way to go?

It gets particularly tricky when you are job hunting and you meet someone influential in the business world who could actually make or break your next career move.

Would handwriting a thank you letter create the best impression, or is it over the top? Would sending a quick email show your enthusiasm and appreciation, or would it be considered overly casual and rude?

For insights, we asked two business etiquette experts to weigh in on the dos and don’ts of the proper, professional thank you.

When Should You Send a Handwritten Note? If experts say it is always a good idea to send an email, does that mean you don’t need to ever actually write another note by hand?

Don’t be so fast to throw away your note cards.

“If you want to make a huge impact, send an email right away and then send a handwritten note the same day,” says Patricia Rossi, business etiquette expert and author of “Everyday Etiquette: How to Navigate 101 Common and Uncommon Social Situations.”

Gottsman agrees, especially when you’re dealing with a more traditional company.

“They’ll realize that if you take the time to send them a handwritten follow-up, then you’re going to take this kind of time with their clients,” she says.

Mailing a note can also help showcase your personal brand with, say, your choice of stationery or a personalized seal.

But Rossi warns that this method isn’t one size fits all: “If it’s a tech company, you wouldn’t use a white or ecru card with black ink like you would with a law firm.”

Instead, gauge your industry and the level of creativity you should incorporate in your correspondence.

The Big Takeaway Send an email right away and, if in doubt, follow up quickly with a handwritten note.

A burgeoning app developer will admittedly have less of an expectation of a handwritten note than a staid accounting firm. If you decide to go digital-only, each person you met should get their own well-crafted email—no group messages and no casual grammar shortcuts.

The medium may have changed, but the message you’re trying to convey—that you’re smart, polished and qualified—remains the same.

Read next: My Coworker Wants to Steal My Job While I’m on Maternity Leave

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