How a Thank You Note Can Further Your Career
Earlier this year, we honored Mother’s Day by highlighting “mom-isms” that can be applied to your professional life in the form of management advice. One “mom-ism” we neglected to mention is the importance of a thank you note. While predominantly used as a method of expressing gratitude for receiving a gift or exemplary service, a personalized thank you note carries a lot of weight, especially when it comes to furthering your career.
Making a Thank You Routine
Recently, an article in Fast Company detailed how a writer made it her New Year’s Resolution to write thank you notes each week and before she knew it, it had become routine for her to take the time to follow up with those who helped her over the past week. How good do you feel when a colleague or superior commends you for exemplary work? How good does it make you feel to make others feel appreciated? Make a routine of it! Find a few people who have helped you in some way, shape or form in the past week and let them know that you are grateful for their actions. Expressing gratitude is the mark of a good employee who is conscientious to boost the morale of their peers, which translates into strong management potential.
While weekly handwritten thank you notes may become a bit of a time commitment, it takes no time at all to tap out a quick thank you e-mail to the tune of: “I really appreciated the way you handled Mr. Jones’ concern about the new menu in the grill on Friday- thank you for approaching the situation with a level head” a few times per week, as situations arise. Not only will it boost the morale of the person you are recognizing, but it will boost your morale as well.
As a part of our RCS Training Experience, we emphasize the art of GRACIOUS Service, but this practice extends way past the transactional relationship between customer and vendor. Practicing GRACIOUS service can be found in the workplace with the practice of making coworkers feel valued, important and special. Taking the time to thank employees and mentors through written communication, such as e-mail or a handwritten note serves to make the intended recipient feel valued and important.
Offering up gratitude is important; especially in the business world where sometimes it seems we only communicate with others when asking for something from another person. It’s important to remember that communication is a two-way street and that the more you put into communicating with colleagues and mentors; praising them when they have made an impact, the more you will get out of communicating when it’s your turn to ask something of them.
Reflecting on Progress
We advise our Collaborative Search candidates to follow up every interview with a handwritten thank you note. This practice is commonplace, but what about a thank you note to someone who helped to shape your career? A thank you note to a person like this is twofold: it serves as an opportunity to check in and perhaps rekindle a relationship that may have fizzled out over time, and it also has a reflective purpose to help you take stock of how far you have come in your career. Perhaps connect with the person on LinkedIn and drop a quick note detailing where your career has taken you, and how their guidance has shaped your professional life.
Reflecting on your professional progress can be a cathartic experience, but is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with those who have helped you get to where you are today. Who knows? By reconnecting and checking in with former mentors and colleagues you may find networking and career opportunities you didn’t know existed.
In a world filled with opportunities to engage in quick communication through e-mail, text message and social media, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of communication that we do in the course of the day and get stuck in a rut of communicating only when a request is being made—a message expressing gratitude and nothing in return does a lot to position you in a positive light to colleagues and mentors.
Brian Armstrong is RCS's primary recruiter, and a Certified Club Manager with over 17 years of management experience in all types of clubs. Brian's industry knowledge is vast and extends to every area of the club. This well-rounded expertise combined with a forward-thinking perspective enables Brian to effectively and strategically guide clubs and their Boards into the 21st century while still respecting the traditions of the past. He was elected President of the National Capital Club Manager's Association in 2012 and 2013, served over 5 years on the Board and countless others on various committees, and shares RCS's passion for giving back to the industry.