20 Ways a Simple “Thank You” Can Transform Your Career


By Sharon Graham.

When it comes to your career, saying “thank you” is much more than good manners. This simple act of showing gratitude has the potential to transform the trajectory of your career.

It is true that saying thank you can improve your career opportunities because it changes the way people perceive you. Just as importantly, it can change YOU as it simply feels good to offer a word of thanks, which in turn improves health by reducing stress. This enables you to be more positive and productive in your career development endeavors.

Many people think of sending a thank you letter to a potential employer after an interview, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. A sincere thank you at the appropriate time can change any business contact into a meaningful long-term relationship. You can say thank you to:

  • Your supervisor for showing you how to complete the job quickly and properly.
  • Your co-worker for a project that you successfully completed together.
  • A friend for referring a new customer to your organization.
  • The vendor of a product or service that made your job easier.
  • A colleague for being a great supporter during a recruiter’s reference check.
  • An administrative person for helping you in your day-to-day work.
  • A team member who does a behind-the-scenes supporting role.
  • The warehouse worker who ensures that everything is “picked and shipped” daily.
  • The janitor for cleaning up the daily workplace mess late in the evenings.
  • The receptionist for taking your calls and messages promptly.
  • The groundskeeper who keeps your surroundings “shipshape.”
  • A company representative who provided you an informational interview.
  • The networking contact who provided you with a great referral.
  • The referred contact for meeting with you and providing advice.
  • Your employer when you are leaving a company for a new opportunity.

We all appreciate it when our contacts make the effort to show us that they value us – and nothing does that better than a  genuine thank you.  The opportunities you have to show your gratitude are endless. Here are some tips on how you can show gratitude to colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, recruiters, employers, and other business contacts.

  1. Immediately, when someone does something nice for you, reach out with a handshake or fist-bump.
  2. Write a handwritten message in a thank-you card explaining why you appreciate your colleague’s support.
  3. Write a formal thank you letter with a specific example outlining what your contact did and exactly how it helped you.
  4. Express your gratitude openly in a staff meeting to a team member who has gone above-and-beyond.
  5. Make a LinkedIn recommendation for a key contact who has helped you out.
  6. Recommend your supplier’s services to your colleagues and friends.
  7. Send a letter to a vendor explaining how their product was the perfect solution to your problem.
  8. Endorse a service provider with a five-star review on Google+.
  9. Get permission to quote someone’s great idea and attribute it to them in your next blog post.
  10. Leave a sticky note on a colleague’s laptop thanking the colleague for a completed task.
  11. Compliment an associate on an impressive, completed assignment or project.
  12. Be outspoken in giving your colleague credit for something you accomplished with his or her help.
  13. Do something small but meaningful, like bringing in donuts for the team.
  14. Repay your contact’s exceptional generosity with coffee or lunch.
  15. Bring the co-worker stuck working through lunch a bite to eat.
  16. Offer to alleviate your team member’s workload by taking some of it on yourself.
  17. Take the time to complete a performance review fully by adding detailed examples of your team member’s good work.
  18. Send an email to your contact’s boss with warm appreciation for the contact’s spectacular job.
  19. Start an employee appreciation online forum or bulletin board.
  20. Plan and execute a thoughtful award or recognition for your colleague.

Thank-you notes, follow-up emails, phone calls, and other forms of connecting are valued strategies in your ongoing career development efforts. Have you received a special thank-you that really impressed you? What types of actions have you used to demonstrate how much you appreciate your business contacts?

Photo by Manuel Cosentino on Unsplash


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This was a nice read. Seriously, keep up the good work.

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