Things I’ve Learnt From Ravelry . . . No. 1

7 February 2012

I have a few topics I return to regularly (“Things I Don’t Understand”, “I Won’t Be Knitting This” etc) so thought I’d start a chain of blog posts on the things I’ve learnt from Ravelry, as they were running a similar thread over there last week.  Apart from some great knitting tips, I’ve learn that the USA really is a foreign country!

It’s sometimes difficult to differentiate between the opinions or actions of one person, or maybe even a few, and what is the “norm” in a country.  So we do run the risk of believing something to be acceptable practice when in actual fact it’s only accepted in that person’s household or in that area.   But some things crop up so often and are so widespread that I can only believe they’re normal practice. 

This isn’t meant to be a criticism.  Etiquette is just a list of rules that we’ve devised and there’s no reason that one country’s list should be the same as another’s.  It just points out the differences that apply between countries that seem outwardly to be so similar.  If I were visiting a Middle Eastern country, I would go to great pains to ensure that I was familiar with this list so I wouldn’t inadvertently offend someone.  We don’t really think of doing that when we’re visiting another English-speaking, developed country.    

I’ll kick off with job applications as that subject is getting a lot of airing at the moment .  Apparently “Yours faithfully” is considered only suitable for love letters!  In the UK and here, I think that would be like receiving a billet-doux addressed “To Whom It May Concern”. 

And it’s considered polite to send a Thank You card after a job interview.  I’ve never come across that one before and would find it rather weird here or in the UK.  Not rude, nor polite, just rather strange.




  1. I interviewed an American recently and received a thank you email. I thought that was really nice. Even though I don’t normally do it myself as I don’t believe that a thank you email or letter will actually land me the job. But then it might just be a matter of manners.

  2. I’m sure I remember learning when i was quite young that a letter to someone known could end with “yours sincerely” but business letter always ended with “yours faithfully.” Do others remember the same or do I have it the wrong way round? I’m in NSW.

    • We were taught pretty much that. If you address the letter to “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam”, you end it “Yours faithfully”. If “Dear Mr Smith”, it’s “Yours sincerely”. But a number of people said that “Yours faithfully” was too familiar and only to be found in love letters.

  3. I must have written a lot of love letters in my time!All my business letters are “yours faithfully” and all my business emails are “best regards”…

    I’ve received thank-you emails, and not thought them strange – just a sign that the person is keen on the job.

  4. Dear Sally. When I visited Australia some years ago, my dinner host of the night before thought it hilarious that I’d written a thank-you note and popped it through her letterbox the following day. Is this the norm or am I extrapolating…? I remain, madam, your most obedient servant.

  5. As job search trainers, we actively encouraged people to send a thank you note after an interview. It is so unusual that it just might sway the interviewer to re-consider that person or at least keep them in mind should another position arise in the same company!

    I have done it once myself; I was interviewed for a position teaching a particular craft (not knitting) so, using my talents in that area, I made a thank you card – the manager of the store loved it and I got the job!

  6. I have seen “thank you for the interview” emails, in Canada, although not from all interviewees. I thought it was a bit odd, but it might have just been me.

    Work-related emails that I get occasionally from the States are usually signed V/R, which I am guessing (or maybe I saw it somewhere) is Very Respectfully.

    On the other hand, I was raised to write thank you letters for presents, but it seems pretty rare over here.

  7. The thank you note/letter following a job interview gives you another opportunity to repeat why you’re a good fit for the job. “Thank you for talking with me about such and such job. As we discussed, my qualifications (whatever they are; list them) make me an excellent fit with the position. I look forward to hearing from you. Very truly yours or Sincerely yours. Faithfully yours is not used in the U.S., at least I’ve never seen it.

  8. Those are interesting ones! I think I’d see sending a thank you letter (or email) after a job interview as being inappropriately pushy, but that’s a real English thing, isn’t it? Rather unacceptable to ‘put oneself forward’.

    I remember another N American/ English thing – offered seconds of cake, I said ‘oh no, no,’ fully expecting another offer – which I didn’t get! That was a fast learning curve!

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