It’s important to thank your network on a regular basis. People are much more likely to help if they feel their efforts are appreciated. Your sincere, gracious thanks shows you notice the extra effort and are grateful for it. It also keeps you top of mind with those in your network. Here are some of the best ways to say thanks:
Keep it simple. The holidays are a perfect time to reach out for no other reason than to express thanks. A card, note or email is fine but make it personal. A generic “thanks for all you are doing” not as powerful as being specific about the help you have received and your gratitude.
Be memorable. A “thank-you” in a memorable way deepens the relationship. For example, a job seeker took me out to lunch once to pick my brain. At lunch I had a very special salad. Later this job seeker showed her appreciation by giving me a bottle of the restaurant’s salad dressing, a small but very memorable token of her appreciation. Job seekers are not expected to give gifts to their network, during the holidays or ever. But if you feel the need to give, keep it small and customized to the recipient.
Give back. Another great way to thank your network is to give value to them. Understand their current work and find easy ways to help them. This kind of attentiveness nurtures a strong network where people are always looking out for one another. For example, as a job seeker, you are probably very tuned in to industry news and developments. Look for ways to share what you are learning.
Make connections. The gift of a great connection is, as they say, “priceless”. As you make new contacts, look for ways to be the “connector” between them. It’s probably the best “thank you” you can give.
While the holidays give you a good excuse to reach out and thank your network, it should be a year-round activity. A natural time to thank them is when their help becomes fruitful. However, you should offer thanks anytime someone tries to help you, even if the lead ends up being a dead end, or the new connection is a dud. After all, it is the thought that counts.