Give ThanksThis is the season for giving thanks in many aspects of our lives as we gather with family and friends to overindulge in turkey and all the fixings.

If you’re actively seeking a new position or hope to do so in the New Year, it’s also an opportunity to reflect more broadly on your season of thanks. Adding a healthy dose of gratitude to your job search can increase your opportunities for success.

Expressing Your Thanks Will Differentiate You

You’d be surprised by how many people forget the important follow-up factor when interviewing. If you express your appreciation throughout your job search, you’ll continually differentiate yourself from other candidates.

But how is a job seeker to do this professionally?

Get It In Writing

Send a handwritten thank you note within 24 hours of an interview or meeting. For timeliness, it’s OK to send a quick email, but that should never replace a handwritten note.

Be sure it’s legible and personalized. Mention something you learned or discussed in your meeting. Use your note to show appreciation for the person’s time and insights and to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm.

Managers often have full email inboxes, but they receive few handwritten notes, so you will be remembered.

Mind Their Time

Demonstrate appreciation for their consideration. Managers are busy people with competing demands for their time. If they take an hour to interview you or to meet with you for a networking discussion, be sure to demonstrate appreciation for their attention.

Show respect for their time by arriving promptly and keeping the discussion to the appropriate time. Be well-prepared and demonstrate your knowledge of the company by having insightful questions ready.

But Don’t Stop There…

Follow-up matters and builds your personal professional brand. The thank you note is step one, but make sure to also demonstrate your professionalism by delivering any requested follow-up items in a timely manner. Become known as someone who does what they say they will do. If you see an article relevant to your recent discussion, forward it with a note. Staying engaged in the process demonstrates interest.

The holidays are the perfect time of year to reconnect with family friends and former colleagues, which brings up the topic of networking, as well. Here are a few tips for a game plan that will leave you feeling thankful you took action:

Cards Count

People are often more willing to connect at this time of year, and there’s no better way to get back in touch than with an old-fashioned card.

If you have any doubt about which holiday someone celebrates, play it safe and send a Thanksgiving card to thank them for their support in the past year. A second option is to send a New Year’s card as you reflect on the past year and the New Year ahead and to thank those who made a difference for you in the past year.

Letting someone know that they helped you often makes them even more willing to assist you going forward. And an unexpected note of appreciation can certainly brighten someone’s day.

Don’t Overlook Any Opportunity

Leverage your connections with family, friends, alums, former colleagues and any others you meet over the holiday season. Use the opportunity to learn what they’ve been doing in the past year and to let them know your plans.

People can’t help you with your job search process if they don’t know what you’re seeking. And you never know — they may have valuable contacts they can introduce you to for informational interviews. If a connection pays off, be sure to let the person who introduced you know you had a productive and informative meeting and that you appreciate their support. It might help them think of another contact to share with you.

Do Unto Others

Consider how you can help friends, family and current and former colleagues, as well. It’s not always all about you. You may have connections that would help your contacts. You may have relevant articles to share.

To be truly effective, networking is a mutually beneficial relationship. While you’re focused on helping someone else, you may receive significant unexpected benefits. Show your true appreciation by helping others.

Don’t Forget the Formal Follow-Up

Always say thank you and send a handwritten thank you note after a networking meeting or to say thank you for a referral to other valuable resources. Contacts who feel appreciated and respected are much more likely to refer you to additional connections.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that managers want to work with positive people. It’s that “attitude of gratitude” that may help open doors. (Click here to tweet this thought.) So think about these other tips for making your search a success and celebrating the spirit of the season:

Be an Example

Life is too short to surround yourself with doom and gloom. Positive people make great team members. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude ensures that you’re showing appreciation to those who support you in your work or your job search.

Make the members of your team and those you interact with feel valued and appreciated. Who knows? Someday you might need a favor to support meeting a critical deadline, and people are more likely to help out when they know their efforts are appreciated.

Remember, It Takes a Village

Why not start a domino effect of positivity to create a better working environment for your whole team? If you make those around you feel valued and appreciated, you’ll likely have much greater satisfaction in your job, too.

Envision Success to Achieve It

Finally, have a vision of who you want to be professionally, including the reputation you wish to earn. Develop and demonstrate those critical traits today as you work towards your goals.

Whether that goal is success in your current role or landing your dream job, you need a network to support your efforts. Demonstrating gratitude throughout the process will ensure you have support on your journey toward success.

How can you demonstrate an attitude of gratitude today?

This content was originally published here.

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