Template Toolbox | ‘Tis the Season to Reconnect

This time of year, your mailbox may be full of notes from friends and family members sharing updates on their lives and wishing you a happy holidays. But it’s important to remember that reconnecting this time of year shouldn’t be reserved just for friends and family. The holiday season presents an authentic opportunity to reach out to professional contacts with whom you may have lost touch over the course of the year.

Even a short email can help keep your connection fresh and strengthen your relationship, especially because you’ll be reaching out with your regards rather than a request.

This holiday season, consider emailing the following people in your professional network to reconnect. Not sure what to say? We’ve got sample language below!

Your references

It’s a good idea to regularly stay in touch with your job references so they know how your search (or how the job that they recommended you for) is going. This is also a great way to share updates on any new information about your career or skills.

The most important thing, though, is to thank them for their support—especially if your job search is taking longer than expected and they’ve given you a reference multiple times.

Here’s a sample note you can customize:

Dear [NAME],

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to thank you once again for serving as one of my references over the last few months. I know this takes time on your part, and I greatly appreciate your help.

I recently interviewed at [ORGANIZATION NAME] for [ROLE] and have been applying to other jobs in [FIELD], so I’m hoping to start a new job soon in the new year. And of course, if any of these potential employers say they’ll be calling my references, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I hope things are going well with you. [MENTION SOMETHING RECENT YOU’VE SEEN ABOUT THEM OR THEIR ORGANIZATION, SUCH AS AN ARTICLE OR SOMETHING NEW THEY’RE DOING ON SOCIAL MEDIA].

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season.

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

People who have helped you expand your network

Have you been asking your contacts to introduce you to people who can help with your job search or a career question you’re exploring? Maybe they connected you to someone for an informational interview or introduced you to a colleague who completed the same graduate program you’re considering.

The holidays are a good time to thank the people who have been vouching for you and to let them know how helpful they’ve been.

Even if you thanked them when they made the introduction, sending a quick note to reiterate your gratitude and update them on how things are going is a great way to stay connected and reinforce their positive impression of you.

Your note could look something like this:

Dear [NAME],

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to thank you once again for helping me connect with people in [FIELD]. I know this takes time on your part, and I greatly appreciate your help as I try to expand my network and learn more about this field.

[BRIEFLY MENTION ONE CONVERSATION OR CONNECTION THAT WAS PARTICULARLY HELPFUL AND EXPLAIN WHY. FOR EXAMPLE, “My conversation with Jane Smith was particularly helpful. Her observations about working in development helped me realize that I want to specialize in major gifts, so now I’ve been looking for those kinds of opportunities.”]

I hope things are going well with you. [MENTION SOMETHING RECENT YOU’VE SEEN ABOUT THEM OR THEIR ORGANIZATION, SUCH AS AN ARTICLE OR SOMETHING NEW THEY’RE DOING ON SOCIAL MEDIA].

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season.

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

People who have given you advice, or an informational interview

Your next holiday note should go to those new connections, the people who gave you advice or perhaps sat down with you for an informational interview. A simple note is all it takes to put you back on their radar, which could be useful if a job opens on their team or if they see something at another organization that seems like it could be a good fit.

Like the above note, thank the person for taking time to speak with you, give a specific example of how it helped you, and inquire about how things are going with them. For example, if you were writing a note to the Jane Smith referenced above, you could say:

Our conversation got me thinking about the different types of development, and I’ve since realized that I’d like to focus on major donor cultivation. I think this area fits with my prior experience managing VIPs in a corporate context, and it appeals to my interests in building deep relationships with a small number of people.

I’ve been talking with people who specialize in major donor cultivation and have applied for a few jobs in this area, so I hope to have some exciting news to share soon in the new year.

Former coworkers

Staying in touch with former coworkers can pay off in the long run. You may need a reference from them one day, or they may move on to another job or organization that interests you down the road.

This note should sound like something you’d send along to an old friend, although remember to keep it professional. In other words, be polite and stick to “safe-for-work” topics, such as your job and professional hobbies or interests.

Dear [NAME],

I hope this email finds you well! It has been too long since we caught up, so I thought I’d drop you a quick note to see how things are going as the year comes to a close. How has your work at [ORGANIZATION NAME] been? Any new and exciting projects you’re working on?

I’ve been at [ORGANIZATION NAME] for [NUMBER OF MONTHS OR YEARS] now, and it has been a great experience so far. [MENTION A RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT OR PROJECT, OR A NEW SKILL YOU’VE BEEN CULTIVATING. YOU COULD ALSO MENTION RECENT VOLUNTEER WORK OR ANOTHER HOBBY/INTEREST].

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season. Let’s find some time in the new year to meet for coffee.

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Pro Tip: If you’re going to suggest meeting for coffee, put a reminder on your calendar for early January to follow up and schedule the meeting.

***

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones! Who will you reconnect with this holiday season?

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As a nonprofit advocacy professional living in Washington, D.C., Deborah works with groups across the country to educate their communities and lawmakers about public policies that can help low-income residents make ends meet. She is passionate about helping people connect their interests to a cause they believe in and empowering them to take action.
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