Job-seekers’ 12 rules for sending cards. No turtle doves, please


It’s starting to feel a lot like ….time to wrap up your job-hunting activities for the holidays.   But unfortunately, that’s  the wrong festive tune to play.  It may be tempting to ride out the rest of the month in holiday mode, but we don’t advise it.

Most put their job seeking efforts on ice in December.  So competition is down. And that’s exactly why at The Bagg Group, we urge you to stay in the game.

Plus, people tend to be in a kinder, better spirits, especially in the last two weeks of the month —  and business does slow at some companies.  It adds up to a good time of year to swoop in and request an informational interview.

But there’s one  holiday activity that’s perfect for you do to now …send greeting cards  

Here are our 12 Do and Don’ts for using greeting cards to connect

Paper versus ecard?

We favour real cards, like people used to send.  Some things don’t change. It’s still hard to resist opening a greeting card that comes in an envelope with your name hand-written on the front.

 If you don’t want to send out cards, e-greeting cards are an alternative. But they’re at higher risk of being lost and deleted from a crowded inbox, especially if sent by a name that the recipient doesn’t recognize.

Include a business card?

Sure, toss yours into the envelope.

 If you don’t have a business card, write your email address under your signature so someone could easily reach you if they wanted to.

Be sure to make your signature super easy to read so people don’t wonder, ‘Who is this card from?

Is a greeting card really another kind of cover letter?

No, a greeting card is a greeting card.  It’s not a good idea to mix holiday wishes with hard sell.  The greeting card serves to remind people of you, but that’s as far as its mission goes.

Can I take this opportunity to ask about work opportunities?  

Again, don’t mix pleasure with business!  You can follow up in a separate email a week or two later, but keep the card out of it.

Can I include any news about me?

Positive news only, and very brief!  If you have an interest or hobby in common, you can mention developments you’ve made in that area.

Above all, don’t write a “My Year in Review” type of newsletter that you’d send to family and friends.   Keep your greeting message short and simple.

Can I go with a funny card?

Only if the card is objectively fun, could not be considered in any way offensive, and is not too cutesy.

 Humour is very tricky when you don’t know a person well – we advise playing it straightforward.  That especially goes for what you write.

Can I send Merry Christmas cards?

Don’t get holiday specific unless you are certain which holiday the person celebrates.  Since you are probably going to buy a package of cards, Happy Holidays and/or New Year’s greetings are perfect.

What about just a few subtle hints that I’m still job-hunting?

The card is the hint — it’s a sign that you want to stay in mind.

Avoid — at all costs — comments like,  “Best wishes for a great year. As for me, I’m just wishing for a regular pay cheque in 2017. LOL.”  What you think may be a joke about your frustrating job search can come off as desperate or bitter.  Any perceived negativity will hurt your chances of getting that person to connect with you, hire, or refer you.

So what do I write?

Remind the card recipient where they know you from.  You might mention that you appreciated meeting (or interviewing) with the person earlier this year about (fill in the blank).  Or you may recall that you enjoyed meeting with them at (fill in the blank)  event.

Then offer your best wishes for the holidays and new year.

Some examples are: “Happy holidays and all the best to you in 2017.”  “Wishing you all the best for a joyful holiday and a new year of opportunities and successes.” “Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season.

Who do I send cards to?

Those you have established professional rapport with — including people with whom you had a great interview or meeting.

Those whom you worked with on a contract, temporary, intern or volunteer basis.

People in your professional network that you know personally.

What about LinkedIN contacts?

Only if they are a first-degree connection.

Again, it should be people who know you personally, or someone you talked to at an event who would remember you. I

It could be a friend of a friend who did you a favour — perhaps put in a good word with a company for you, or who agreed to review your resume.

If there’s not an actual connection, other than this person accepted your request to connect, save the stamp or the e-greeting.

Why no turtle doves?turtle-doves

Do you know the classic holiday carol The 12 Days of Christmas?  You’ve heard it if you’ve been to a mall or turned on the radio around now.  It’s the ultimate ode to gift-giving — and on day two, “My true love gave to me two turtle doves.”  And on it goes, with each day bringing new, outrageous, gifts.

Don’t do that.  Do not send gifts to prospective employers or to those you’d like to help you to find a job. It’s not appropriate, it’s not professional, it makes recipients feel uncomfortable and obliged.

So say yes to a greeting card, but no to turtle doves, pears in partridge trees, geese a laying, gold rings and whatever else the song or eBay suggests.

And in between writing greeting cards, check job postings with Bagg Pro, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources, and Turn Key Staffing Solutions.

 It’s a very good time of year to consider temporary and contract work.  Best wishes for shopping for opportunities to make your 2017 engaged and successful!

Gene Hayden is author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done. She is a long-time career coach and The Bagg Group’s very own writer-in-residence.

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