Take Time to Express Professional Gratitude

Show your gratitude and appreciation to your professional and academic mentors. Reach out to them by email or phone. Networking with old contacts is important, too.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a big mush. I don’t shy away from telling close friends and family that I am grateful for them and care about them.

But being “mushy” (in a professional way) with people who have had a positive impact on your education and career is also important. This is as easy as either emailing or calling those mentors, supervisors, colleagues, professors, teachers, and coaches to express gratitude.

Why not take an hour in the next week to reach out to those influences and thank them? Take these steps:

  1. Make a list of three to six people who shaped your education and career. You can make a longer list if you want, but don’t stretch yourself too thin.
  2. Find their contact information (email is fine, but make note of phone numbers wherever possible).
  3. Write a personalized email to each of those six people. Be specific about how they helped you and thank them. If you haven’t been in touch in a long time, tell them what you’re doing these days. Then—and this is important—offer to help. Some ideas: Beta read something they wrote, be a guest speaker in class, mentor someone they know, connect them with someone in your network, look over a resume and/or a LinkedIn profile, write a testimonial, recommend their services to potential clients—whatever is appropriate for your relationship and expertise. Or, just ask to meet up for coffee. Your treat.
  4. After you send the emails, choose two people from the list and CALL. Yes, pick up the phone and speak to them, human voice to human ear. The call can be short. But show your gratitude and say “Happy 2018!”

I’ll make my list and go from there.