Giving Thanks Never Goes Out of Style

In this season of giving thanks it is important to stop for a moment and think about giving thanks in relation to your job search , career and life.  Regardless of the time of year, giving thanks is always in style and people like feeling appreciated.

In Your Job Search

Throughout your job search, it is important to thank everyone who assists you and shares time and insights with you.  For an interview always send a handwritten thank you note within 24 hours.  It differentiates you from the competition and helps the hiring managers remember you.  Differentiate yourself from the crowd by sending a personalized note that refers to something specific you discussion with that individual.  Do not send all contacts the same note – they will compare.

If you are networking, you will be conducting informational interviews.  In each case, someone has taken valuable time to share their experience and insights with you so a handwritten thank you note is appropriate.  Thank them for their time and their insights and refer to something specific that was particularly helpful to you from the conversation.  Taking the time to say thank you differentiates you from other networkers and helps the contact remember you as an individual.  Often they are more likely to want to help someone who is appreciative of their time and assistance.  Simply saying thank you can encourage people to help you in your search.

Thank you isn’t only for face to face meetings.  If someone provides a reference, send a note.  If someone refers you to a valuable contact, send a note.  Let people know that you appreciate and value their support.   Always personalize the note to refer to something specific you discussed.  It helps people remember you and it makes them more willing to help going forward.  Also, remember to keep them posted on your progress.

Networking is about building a relationship and showing appreciation is a critical aspect of relationship building.  Show your network respect by keeping them posted on your progress and demonstrate your appreciation for their support.

In Your Career

Many people have helped you at different stages of your career.  Think how delighted they would be to hear from you.  If you do something that makes you think of the person who trained you or offered valuable advice, send a quick note.  Let them know you are still influenced by what you learned from them.  Offer a quick update on what is happening in your career and ask about them.  Show genuine appreciation and interest.  For the couple minutes it takes to write a note or send a message, you will brighten someone’s day and be remembered positively.

If someone mentors you in your career, be sure to thank them often for their support and encouragement and let them know how they are making a difference for you.

Did someone help you take the next step within your current company or assist you in your latest career change?  Thank them again and let them know how well things are going in the new role and how often you reflect on valuable advice they provided.  Let them know they made a difference in your career.

Be sure to maintain contact with past managers, you may need them one day as a reference.  Keep them posted on your career progress and remember to thank them for the learning experiences they provided for you.  Offer to assist them as needed as well.  Often managers are asked for references from employees they managed.  You could assist them in their job search by sharing your experience of working with that person as your manager.

In Your Life

Did you ever thank a teacher who had a significant impact on your life or on your child?  Did you ever thank a caring adult that was there at a critical point in your life or a friend who made a difference?  Those unexpected thank you’s will be treasured.  Let someone know that you are thinking about them.  Send a card with a note and you will brighten someone’s day.  People love to think that what they do matters to someone else.

Do you know someone who is facing a serious illness, is caring for an aging parent, going through a difficult personal crisis, etc?  Send a card to let them know that you are thinking of them.  If there are things you are willing and able to do to assist, offer specific assistance.  People dealing with a crisis often feel alone and it can make a huge different for them to know that they are not forgotten.

These days, people are quick to complain and social media makes it easy to do so very publicly.  Stop being negative and thank someone who made a difference in your life.  Hopefully they will pay it forward and thank someone in their lives as well.

Giving Back

While the holidays often spur thoughts of volunteering, there are many non-profit organizations in need of year round support.  In fact, many of these organizations need business skills and experience.  Talk to your network or do some online research to identify local non-profits and reach out to see where you can make a difference.

Choose a non-profit with a mission that resonates with you.  When you care about the mission it makes the actual work easier and more meaningful.  Organizations may need help with marketing, finance or fundraising.  This is an opportunity to leverage your business skills and expertise in a different way.  You will also learn from the experience and expand your network.

Consider the skills you offer and the mission you are passionate about to identify the best opportunity.  Giving back feels good and offers additional experience for your resume.  Use the giving spirit of the season to make a commitment to giving back in the year ahead.

At This Time of Year

Avoid the entire debate about sending holiday cards, which holiday to recognize or how generic to make the wishes.  Instead, send Thanksgiving cards.  Warm wishes of thanks are appropriate to all populations and are not expected so the surprise factor is an added bonus.  Think about who you want to thank this season.  Take a few minutes to add a brief personal note to each card to maximize the impact it will have on the recipient.

If you miss the opportunity to send Thanksgiving cards, consider New Year’s.  Thank them for something in the past year that made a difference for you and wish them all the best in the year ahead.

One of the best opportunities to differentiate yourself in a job search, your career or in life is to be known as someone with an attitude of gratitude – always saying thank you.  Appreciation will help you maintain valuable relationships and will make people want to assist you along the way.

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