Giving to your network during the holidays

‘Tis the season for giving! Who better to give back to than your professional network?

We’re all thankful for people who have aided us while we’ve searched for jobs, sought promotions, and struggled in our professional lives. Here are quick, easy, affordable gifts to give to your connections this holiday season.

1. Update contact information

Have you recently provided your contacts, particularly those who frequently serve as references during your job search, with updated contact information? Give your closest contacts a greeting card with your updated contact information. Don’t forget to ask for their updated contact information, too.

2. Provide a letter of reference

If you haven’t already endorsed and recommended your contacts on LinkedIn, do it this week. Write a genuine, old-fashioned letter of reference. Email it in PDF format to your connection. He will appreciate it the next time he begins searching for a job. Who knows? He may reciprocate and give you one in return!

3. Find ways to collaborate

Do you have connections who are trustworthy, hard-working, dependable, and share common career interests? Partner with them on research projects, fundraisers, or other tasks. Collaboration is where it’s at in the workplace.

4. Lend a listening ear

Everyone in your network appreciates a great listener. Take time to ask how people are doing. Listen to the entire response; respond thoughtfully. You will deepen your connection. It’s a great idea to give the gift of active listening, particularly to those grieving a recent loss.

5. Offer your mentorship

Offer to mentor someone in your network who has recently graduated, taken on a new role, or transitioned into a new career field. Most of us have been mentored professionally by our supervisors, colleagues, or other generous professionals.

6. Volunteer

Does one of your contacts manage a non-profit organization or volunteer for the board of a non-profit organization? Volunteer alongside your friend. You will become better acquainted with your connection. You’ll also form new connections with other volunteers while donating time for a good cause.

7. Share causes

Do you feel comfortable sharing your connections’ social media posts related to various non-profits and other great causes? Share away. Your connections will thank you for spreading the word about their events and for raising awareness. You’ll be doing some good in the world, too.

8. Spread good news

Has someone in your network contributed to the world in a valuable way? Has she earned an award at work recently or donated her time to Big Brothers Big Sisters? Brag on your contact by sharing this good news on social media. Tag your friend. This helps brand your contact in a positive light. It also demonstrates that you share positive news. Everyone wins.

9. Show support during tough times

Be mindful of those in your network who are having a tough time during the holidays. It never hurts to send a “thinking of you” email. Ask someone who’s experienced a loss how she’s doing during the holidays.

10. Give coffee and cookies

Out of ideas? Just bake some cookies and buy great coffee. You really can’t go wrong with these two full-proof gifts, and taking a break at work encourages networking.

Enjoy the season. Enjoy one another. Enjoy life.

If you need help navigating your own career journey, email me to schedule a free consultation. Begin your new year with a solid plan for career success.

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