by Sue Russoniello
Hard to believe, but January, 2010 is almost past. The poinsettias are long gone. You’re back at the gym working off those cookies you couldn’t resist in December. And your mom is still bugging you to write those pesky holiday thank you notes, right? Why don’t you put that etiquette training to good use in your job or internship search? How’s that, you ask?
Well, for instance, a friend and I were chatting recently about our respective holidays. She was telling me about a connection her daughter made over the break. “Mary” accompanied a friend to a holiday party where she had the typical conversations — Where is she studying? What degree is she getting? What are her career goals? Pretty humdrum, right? Whoa! Wait a minute! What a coincidence! The host of the party is on the board of directors of an organization in the very field she wants to enter when she graduates in May! He told her to be sure to get in touch in the spring, and he’d be happy to help her in her job search in whatever way he could.
I urged Mary to write to him NOW. And I encourage you to follow up on connections you made, as well. Write that note; thank him for the lovely party; impress him with your good manners while gently jogging his memory about the conversation you had regarding your employment goals. Be sure to include your contact information so he can reach out to you if he wants. Let him know you’ll be in touch in the next few weeks to follow-up. (Then, of course, don’t forget to do that.)
So even though it’s almost February, it’s not too late. Sit down for a minute before the semester kicks into full gear. Think about the people you spent time with over the break. Perhaps you didn’t make as exciting a connection as my friend’s daughter, but maybe you had a nice conversation with your best friend’s parents or your Aunt Sadie who had some good leads for you. Reach out to them with those thank you notes and let them know how much you appreciate their guidance and friendship. Use the good manners your mom has taught you and at the same time kick your job search into gear.
While you’re at it, thank Mom for the etiquette lessons!