Thanksgiving is a great time to connect with family, friends and loved ones. It is also a great time to reach out to your professional network and check in. Okay, so the holiday is probably too short to allow for you to visit potential employers face-to-face (something you can absolutely do during the Christmas break), it is a natural point on the calendar to touch base with them. So let’s talk about how and why.
First the why. Things slow down during a holiday for most people, and the email you might send is more likely to get through and be read than if you sent it during the rush of a busy normal week. Further, Thanksgiving puts most people in a pretty good mood, so it’s more likely the employer will react favorably when they receive your email. Finally, if you reach out around Thanksgiving, they have extra days over the long weekend to respond before regular business kicks in again.
So now for the how. What should you send? If this is a cold email (i.e. you don’t know the person at all), the message should be very short, and shouldn’t ask the person for anything at all. Here’s an example:
Dear Ms. Hill,
First, I hope you had/have a Happy Thanksgiving! I am a second year law student at Baylor Law School, and am reaching out because you practice in the exact area of interest that I hope to work in, [practice area]. In fact, I was doing some research and came across this article about [practice area] that you might find interesting! I look forward to staying in touch with you, and wish you the best.
Now, that note would change if the person is someone you know/have met once or twice and have corresponded with at least once before. Now I might actually ask for something or lay the groundwork to ask for something soon:
Dear Ms. Hill,
I hope you had/have a Happy Thanksgiving! I was doing some research on [practice area] recently and came across this article that you might find interesting. How is that new case you were working on last we talked?
I am planning to be down in Houston over the Christmas holiday, and would love the opportunity to come by for a brief visit if you have the time. I’ll touch base as it gets closer. Thank you so much for all your help and mentorship; it means so much to me!
Hopefully these give you some idea of the direction I suggest going when reaching out to your professional contacts this week. The keys are that you are bringing something of value (the article), appropriately communicating based on the level of your relationship, and not asking for anything (note in the second email you haven’t really asked yet, more like set up the ask).
Take advantage of the opportunity this week! It’s a great time to make progress with your contacts and develop deeper relationships with those you connect with. As always, if you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask us.