Before people begin the annual gluttony associated with Thanksgiving — many eating more on one day than they do on any other holiday — here’s a new tradition you might consider. Why not spend part of the holiday week — or even all of Black Friday — writing thank-yous to the people who’ve helped you this year? It is calorie free and guaranteed to delight as many people as you send notes to. It would be lovely to write a job search thank you in long hand and send snail mail but an email is much better than nothing at all!
Here are some of our favorite reasons to thank someone:
1. For an introduction, connection, or useful suggestion.
2. For taking the time to answer a question, provide a source of information, or — the best — suggest a shortcut and for repeating it when you didn’t get it the first few times.
3. For being cheerful and encouraging when you needed both.
4. For not pooh/poohing an idea that deserved it but to which you were attached and vice versa.
5. For being glad you called and glad to help you.
We could go on but you get the point. The number of people who take the time to thank others for help is infinitesimally small. Indeed, this fall has seemed as if most people are venting frustration and bad temper. Be a contrarian and do the opposite. Practice appreciation with a vengeance.
Here’s the payoff: The next person you call for help will be happy to take your call. Your network will expand based on thank-yous alone. People who’d forgotten they’d done a favor for you will be glad to be reminded.
All of the best strategies for cementing relationships are this simple. There is no “reply all” but it’s much more effective. Even if you send fewer than 20 notes, people who’ve done it say they’ve gotten useful advice or even job leads as a result — just from doing the right thing!