About 5 years ago while interviewing for a job, I was diligent about collecting business cards from everyone I interviewed so that I could follow up with a thank you note via e-mail. However, I forgot to get the card from the one guy who could potentially become my boss and who, in the end, would decide whether or not to hire me. Since I was at home with no email address, I pulled out one of the personalized note cards that my parents had given me as a graduation gift a few years before and sent him a hand-written note, thanking him for his time.
When they eventually hired me, he mentioned that the personally hand-written note made me really stand out among the candidates and it influenced his decision. If he only knew it was a last-ditch effort (I eventually told him about it and we had a good laugh over it and complimented me on my ingenuity).
This article from the International Herald Tribune talks about how stationary and old-fashioned hand-written notes are becoming slightly more popular as a counter-trend towards email, text messaging and instant messaging. All this instantaneous electronic messaging means that a note that someone has taken the time to write by hand really stands out.
The article discusses some pretty high-end stationary options, but it doesn’t need to be hand-made paper to be a good experience. Paper with a good feel and that absorbs ink well and feels good while writing – a slightly scratchy (but pleasantly so) tactile feel is ideal – makes it a pleasure to write and helps to slow your writing down, so that you actually think about what you’re writing.