‘Tis the season to send holiday cards. Job hunter tips


With holiday music in the air, are you singing,  It’s starting to feel a lot like … time to wrap up my job-hunting activities for the holidays? The experts at The Bagg Group say hold back on that tune. If you’re looking for job opportunities anywhere in the GTA or Canada, don’t put looking for a job on ice this month.

Many job hunters stop their job search as of early December. That can mean there’s less competition out there.  All the more reason why The Bagg Group urges you to stay in the game.

As well, it may be easier to reconnect with a contact, or in some cases, secure an informational meeting at a company, during the last weeks of December.  Business may slow for some (not all) at this time.

Every year around now, job hunters who look for full-time, contract or temporary positions, ask us about sending out holiday cards.

If you do it right, and you send your cards to an appropriate list of contacts, it can be worth the time and effort. It’s a nice way to increase your visibility with your network. But we have to emphasize, the key is to stick to a holiday message, and not turn your card into a cover letter.

If you are thinking about sending greetings cards, first check out these 13 important tips from The Bagg Group expert recruiters.

Who should I send a card to?

  • People who know your name! Those you have established professional rapport with — including people with whom you had a great informational interview or meeting with.
  • Those with whom you worked with on a contract, temporary, intern or volunteer basis.
  • People in your professional network that you know personally.
  • Don’t put someone on  your list who won’t likely recall you well, or who has never answered any of your emails in the past.

Paper or ecard?

  • It’s a tough call.  Here’s what research tells us. People tend to open a greeting card that arrives in an envelope with their name handwritten on the front.
  •  It’s more expensive to use snail mail. And e-cards are an acceptable alternative. 
  • As with all non-work related email, there’s a risk of having it overlooked in a crowded inbox.  
  • One solution could be a mix and match.  Send key contacts an actual greeting card, and others an e-card.

Can I include my email address in the card?

  • If you’re sending a paper card to someone you don’t think has your contact info, or if your email address has changed, it’s fine to write your email address in brackets under your signature.  You can even include a business card if you have one.
  • Always make sure your signature is super easy to read so people don’t wonder, ‘Who is this card from?

Can I use a greeting card to announce my new email address?

  • No!  If you are getting back in touch with contacts and your email has changed, write Pls. update my contact info in the subject line.
  • Then follow up with an ecard greeting.

Is a greeting card really another kind of cover letter to get a job?

  • Definitely not! To be clear, 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 full-time, contract or temporary work opportunities?  

  • Again, don’t mix in 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. But just a line or two.
  • Above all, never send a “My Year in Review” type of message that you’d give to family and friends.
  • Keep your greeting message short and simple.  If you are unsure, stick to a standard holiday greeting, you can’t go wrong with that.

Can I send a funny card?

  • Only if the card is objectively fun, and 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.
  • Happy Holidays and/or Happy New Year’s is always perfect.

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

  • The card is the hint — it’s the 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 2020. LOL.
  • What you think may be a joke or even straight update about your 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?

  • If you believe the card recipient will know you, but you wish to remind them of a particular meeting, you can say 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 2020.” “Wishing you all the best for a joyful holiday and a new year of opportunities and successes.” “Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season.

What about LinkedIN contacts?

  • Again, greeting cards should go to people you know personally, or to those who would definitely remember meeting with you.
  • You could also send a greeting to 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.  In that case, you could write something like, “I’d like to thank you again for ( ……) and wish you all the best for 2020.”
  • If there’s not an actual connection, other than this person accepted your request to connect, forget the e-greeting.

Can I make an impression by sending a gift?

  • No, no, no!  Do not send gifts to professional contacts, prospective employers or 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. They will not like it.

 Remember, it’s a very good time of year to consider temporary and contract work too. It’s not only a chance to increase income, it’s also an opportunity to build your networks  (and have more people to send cards to next year). So this December, shop for what really matters — opportunities to make your 2020 engaged and successful!


Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach and writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group.

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