People constantly ask me for career advice--students, recent grads and even seasoned pros. I want to help everyone but it's just not possible.
When I do give someone my undivided attention or a personal referral, it's shocking how rarely I receive a "thank you." These two simple words can make or break professional connections, job opportunities, a career and employee relationships.
Small courtesies still create a powerful response in others--especially a simple thank you.
The Power of Thank You
When someone makes time to meet you, interview you and discuss your career aspirations, they deserve a sincere thank you for their valuable time. My company recently introduced two job candidates to a client for a customer service job. The interviews went well but the client said certain metrics had not been met. When I asked what he meant, he said, "I expect an interested candidate to send a thank you email, at a minimum." No job offers were extended that week.
When you get the job, it's as important to say thank you as it is when you are interviewing. As an employee, you're given the privilege of being paid for your hard work and expertise. It's not owed to you, it's earned. On any day, there are thousands of other people who can do the same job, would work for less money and would be extremely grateful. Yet how many employees ever thank their boss? Just because you've started your career doesn't mean you stop expressing gratitude. Want to blow your manager's mind? Take them for coffee or lunch and tell them how much you appreciate your job. Look them in the eye and say "thank you."
Thank you is a two-way street. Positive feedback makes employees feel recognized and appreciated, but it has to be done in a way that truly resonates. Not everyone responds to a generic "good job!" Professional training and coaching consultant Michael Allosso says, "You need to give feedback the right way to get positive results. Be truthful, specific, and positive. Don't make praise overblown or out of context."
For example, instead of thanking an employee for her work on the last project, call out specific details like how well she managed an outside vendor or resolved a sticky budget situation. Being truthful, specific and positive gives the employee detail, shows you really pay attention--and mean it. Thank yous like that create loyalty and help you retain the best people, in turn propelling your own career.
Giving thanks is not only good for your soul, it's good for your career. Mom was right.