Strengthening your Network with Gratitude

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As the year comes to a close, you may have already started a running list of New Year’s resolutions and carefully constructed a plan to tackle each of your goals!

Before you start setting goals for the new year, take time to reflect on your successes for the year and thank the people who cheered you on and offered a hand along the way.

Sharing your gratitude with a teammate or mentor at the end of each year provides an opportunity to reconnect and strengthen your network. In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of ending your year with a dose of gratitude and walk away with templates for those thank you notes.

Increase your happiness while strengthening your connections.

When you take the time to express gratitude, you also take the time to acknowledge the goodness in your life. Taking a moment to reflect on these and express gratitude breeds positive emotions and strengthens relationships.

Over the last few years, psychologists have published research on the effects of expressing gratitude (ie. through writing thank you notes, creating a weekly list of what has been going well, etc.). These studies show time and time again the power of gratitude to improve one’s psychological and physical health as well as self-esteem. But what can it do for your career?

A 2014 study conducted at the University of New South Wales found that the act of thanking someone makes them more likely to seek an ongoing social relationship with you. Whether you’re thanking a recruiter for connecting you to an opportunity or a mentor for offering advice, that thank you note could help you build a stronger network that will help you land that next gig.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered!

As you close out your year, consider sending a quick thank you note (email is fine!) to those who have contributed — in both big and small ways — to your successes this year. As your write these notes, be specific about what you’re thankful for and name the impact that these folks’ actions have had on your life.

To give you a headstart, we’ve made a few templates that you can spruce up and personalize!

THANK YOUR PROFESSORS

Maybe they’ve sparked a new passion, given you great feedback on your papers, or connected you with someone in the industry you’re looking to break into. Be sure to write a thank you note to your professors to close out the fall semester, show your appreciation, and leave a good impression. You never know — you might be taking another one of their classes down the line, or you may need to ask them for a grad school recommendation letter!

*Dr. X,

It was such a pleasure being in your {{Insert Course Name}} class this semester. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures and discussions you led in class, particularly on the topics of _______ and ______. I hope to further explore these topics in my subsequent classes with you! Additionally, I wanted to let you know that I’m so appreciative of the time you’ve taken to help me improve in {{Insert specific skill}}/better my understanding of {{Insert specific topic}}. The interest and effort that you’ve taken to help me grow and develop has truly been one of the highlights of this semester. *

THANK A MENTOR

Mentors can come in all forms -- your supervisor at your last internship or a senior who has taken you under their wing. These are folks who have made the commitment to support you in your long-term growth and development by offering their wisdom and support, often expecting nothing in return!

*Dear X,

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all the support you’ve given me over the last few months, particularly during {{my internship search, when I was having a hard time navigating a work relationship, etc.}}. I really value the advice you offer, as it has helped me navigate and opened up new doors in an industry that I hope to be successful in. Thank you for taking me under your wing; I know that the {{specific skills/abilities}} that you have consistently modeled for me has helped me set a good foundation for my career!*

THANK YOUR RECRUITER

If you’ve gone through the recruiting cycle this year, you know the role that recruiters play in connecting you with opportunities, pushing you through the process, and offering resources along the way. Whether or not you got the job, it might be worth sending a quick thank you note to the recruiter who guided you through the process, as this will be a great way to stay in touch for future opportunities!

*Hi X,

Thank you so much for your help with my internship search this year. The insights that you offered into {{Company Name}}’s culture and the advice that you shared throughout the interview process were truly valuable. I hope to stay in touch over the new year!*

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