Celebrating Father’s Day recently got me thinking about saying thanks to people who have had a meaningful impact on my life. Since there is no national day of recognition for every different relationship we have in life, we need to remember on our own. Your network and your personal brand will be strengthened if you take the time to show appreciation when someone has helped you. This post will discuss some of the different ways you can show your thanks.
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill
It is important that you thank the potential employers you speak or interview with. This thanks often comes in the form of a follow-up letter or email. For great information on writing thank you letters, see this article by Alison Doyle.
Thanking your network
It is important that you thank people other than those you want something from. Most often, the people in our lives who make the most impact are the ones who cannot immediately give us what we seek (a job, a good grade, a promotion).
There are likely the people in your life who have helped you learn, mature, and move ahead. There are teachers, friends, aunts, counselors and others who have shared their wisdom, introduced you to people, and given you a helping hand. Showing your appreciation to them will go a long way in keeping a strong network of people in your life.
Networking is about building relationships with people and not just kissing up to the ones who can advance your personal agenda. Your network will dry up quickly if people think you are only interacting with them to further yourself. For helpful guidance on building relationships that lead to success see Keith Ferrazzi’s book, “Who’s got your back.”
Here are some ways to say thanks:
- The traditional way – just say it out loud to people who have helped you
- Sending an email and mentioning specifics about what someone has done to help you and/or what they mean to you
- Thanking someone in public when you are successful at accomplishing a personal or professional goal
- Randomly giving a gift — no matter how small.
- Asking someone if you can help them or someone they know. Giving back is a great way to say thanks.
Pay it forward
“The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on.” – Julia Alvarez
Once you have developed the habit of thanking people for their support and help in your life, you can move on to the most meaningful way to say thanks — helping others. The best way to improve the world we all live in is to give others the support, advice, guidance, and wisdom that you have learned. It is not helpful to yourself or the world if you keep the goodness you have received to yourself.
In giving what you have learned back to people in your life, you will not only help to build your network, you will also make all those mentors, counselors, and teachers so very proud of you.
Lori Bielek is the Marketing and Technology Coordinator at University of Delaware’s (UD) Career Services Center where she advises students in the arts and sciences through all steps of their career development. You can connect with Lori through LinkedIn, Twitter, or the UD Career Services Twitter account (@UDcareers).