As Thanksgiving approaches, this is an ideal time to remember the importance of thanks within the context of your job-search process. When someone provides you with job-related advice, or someone in your network puts you in touch with the recruiter leading the search for a position for which you applied, what you are receiving is, in fact, a gift. And because of this, traditional gift-giving rules apply. Job seekers should be sure to thank everyone who provides them with job search advice. This is not only the polite thing to do, but it is an important strategic move.
Many successful companies recognize the power of a thank you and expend significant resources because they recognize its benefits. For example, eBay tells its top sellers that “sending your buyers a thank you note after a purchase can be a great way to strengthen your seller-buyer bond. But besides that, it can also be a great way to increase your repeat sales.” Toward that end, the website has even developed a “Thank You Emails” app in which sellers can notify individuals of other top-selling items on eBay, while also thanking them for their business. Saying thank you is not only the right thing to do but it helps to cement your connection with people in your network.
And speaking of gifts, regifting rules also apply to your job search process. By this I mean you should never regift a present that is not yours, making sure you are only sharing information that is yours to share.
Consider the story of college student Joelle Anderson, 20, who asks communications executive Laurie Reynolds if they could have a 15-minute phone conversation to discuss Joelle’s job search. Laurie agrees, based on Joelle’s email stating that she reached out to Laurie because Laurie graduated from the same program in which Joelle was currently enrolled. During the conversation, Laurie provided Joelle with a number of job leads, the names of a few contacts, information on two conferences that Joelle should attend to continue building her network, and her personal email address. Joelle thanked Laurie profusely for her valuable advice.
The problem was that Joelle found Laurie’s advice so valuable she shared it with others. And, over the next two months, Laurie received six emails from other school alumni requesting informational meetings. all of the email senders stated that they received Laurie’s personal contact information from Joelle. Yes, this really happened.
The point is that when someone takes the time to speak with you about their job search and provides you with advice, that information is, in fact, a gift. You should not assume it is intended for others. Just because someone does a favor for you, that doesn’t mean they’ll do the same favor for someone else—especially when they don’t know them. At the very least, Joelle should have asked Laurie first whether it was okay to share her contact information.
And, yes, in case you were wondering, you really should say thank you for that handmade holiday sweater. And, no, you really should not regift it. In the spirit of the season I also want to thank you for all of your support of my new book, The Perpetual Paycheck, and my new consulting business. It has been quite a ride so far, and I am just getting started.
Best of luck with your job search, I know you can do it!