And why it’s important to send one.
Like me, you may receive holiday newsletters from friends and relatives who you see infrequently. You may look forward to receiving these yearly letters or dread them because they carry on for pages about personal information best saved for a therapist.
For job seekers these newsletters can serve as a great way to network if written properly. You’re sending these holiday networking newsletters to people who care about your welfare and would like to help in any way they could.
Maybe your uncle Jake once worked at Raytheon and still has connections there, past or present; or your former roommate from college is doing well for himself in marketing in NYC. Your brother is active on LinkedIn and probably has connections living in your area. He’ll sing your praises for sure. The list of possibilities are great.
What to include in your personal holiday newsletter. Keep in mind that you’re not contacting employers or fellow job seeking networkers who understand the lingo and nuances of networking for work. (These networking letters speak a different language and are targeted to a specific audience.)
You’re reaching out to friends and relatives who know little to nothing about your situation or experience and goals, and who probably haven’t heard from you in awhile. Thus, the content should be light and unobtrusive.
First wish your recipients a happy holiday. You’ll start light and stay light during the entire letter. This is, after all, the holidays.
“Hello loved ones. It’s been a busy year for the Jones, and we have a lot to tell you. First let me start be telling you that we have a new puppy; I think that sums up ‘busy.’ Ellen has me on house training duties, and for the most part I’m doing all right. I hope you get to see our puppy, who we’ve called “Messi.”
Body of Newsletter
News about the family is always appreciated.
“I’m proud to say that Tommy Jr. graduated from college and is interning at Fidelity. It helps that he developed a network while in college. I’m proud that he understands the importance of building relationships.
“Claire is enjoying her senior year in high school and much to the chagrin of Ellen and me (did I say that?) is dating a wonderful boy who dotes on her. She’ll be heading off to UMaine and he’ll be going to Florida State (Joy).
“Little Jason is entering high school with intentions of wrestling and playing soccer. He doesn’t seem to be thinking of what he wants to do after high school. He jokes about becoming a professional gamer. (Does that exist.) Really, Jason is a good boy; I’m not too worried.”
Continue writing about what’s happening on the family front, but don’t brag too much. How many times have we read holiday newsletters that sound like a commercial for the all American family? Keep it real. However, don’t write negative content.
Be upbeat and positive as you tell your recipients about your current situation. You want your friends and relatives to think about how they may help; you don’t want to drive them away with demands or sound needy or despondent.
“I think you may recall that I’m in transition from my position as director of marketing at my former software company. I’m in high spirits seeing my family and friends and relatives doing so well. This is a tough economy, and I know of many people out of work. Please keep me and others affected by the layoffs in your thoughts.”
Sign off with your telephone number and LinkedIn URL, if it feels appropriate. Also ask your recipients to write back with news about what’s going on in their lives. Good networking is not only about you, it’s also about those with whom you communicate no matter who the audience is. Show your interest as well.
A post script could add a nice touch.
PS: This Christmas Eve I’m excited about ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I’ll even be dressed as Santa. Jason said I’m a dork for doing this, but I can’t think of a better way to spend the night before Christmas than helping the needy.
Some important things to note: don’t ask if anyone knows of a job. You don’t want to put undue pressure on your friends and relatives who are not consumed with the labor market. The best delivery method for your letter will be a typed or hand-written letter delivered by snail mail, as it has a more personal touch and is more likely not to be forgotten.
Photo: Flickr, Memento