I love sending cards. Not just because they’re satisfying to write, but because they have career-changing effects. No really, it’s led to mentorships, freelancing opportunities—even job offers!
Luckily for me, peak card-sending time—a.k.a., the holidays—is here. If you want to get in on the game, check out the list of nine kinds of people in your professional life who’d love to get a note from you—along with templates for all those holiday card greetings.
Template #1 Your Boss
OK, this one’s a bit of a no-brainer. I suggest writing a heartfelt and appreciative note to go along with that gift for your boss.
Hope you have a fantastic time [insert holiday plans]. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you—it’s been a pleasure working with you for the last [X months/years]. Not only have you taught me [lesson you’ve learned from boss], but you’ve also been incredibly [helpful, patient, inspiring, responsive, supportive]. I’m really looking forward to continuing to learn from you!
Happy holidays, and thank you again,
Template #2 Your Former Boss
Sending a holiday card to a former boss is a great way to maintain that relationship. You never know when you’ll need a letter of recommendation or a referral—or even a job at your old company!
Happy holidays! I hope you’re doing well, and congratulations on [recent work achievement]. Thank you again for making my time with [Former Company] so great. If you’ve got time after the end-of-the-year craziness, let’s [grab coffee, chat on the phone, get lunch] and catch up! I’d love to hear how everything’s going with you.
Template #3 Your Co-workers
Cap the number of co-worker holiday cards you write at 20. If you’re at a small startup, that could include everyone in the company; if you’re at a bigger business, that could just be the people in your department. But anything over 20 is craziness.
Happy holidays, [Name]!
It’s been really great [working with you/getting to know you] over the past [X months/years], and I’m looking forward to continuing in 2020.
Template #4 Your Former Co-workers
There’s no need to write cards for all your old co-workers, but if there were any you were particularly close to or worked with frequently, it’s a nice gesture. Plus, if in the future you reach out for a favor, it won’t seem too out-of-the-blue.
Wishing you a happy and festive holiday season! I hope [Company Name] is treating you well and that everything in [department] is great. I miss our time [working together, checking out local coffee shops together, hanging out at company events, forwarding each other funny memes]. Please reach out if you’re ever [in my neck of the woods, available for a coffee date].
Template #5 Your Mentor(s)
This category includes anyone who gives you career advice on a semi-regular or regular basis. It could be a slightly more experienced colleague, a professional in your industry, a mid- or senior-level manager, or a relative. While you should consistently be showing your gratitude for this person’s help, it’s especially nice to do so during the holidays.
[Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa] and Happy New Year! Thank you so much for your guidance and support. It’s wonderful to know that when I have a question about [topic] or [topic], you’re just a [phone call, email, a few doors] away. When I was trying to decide what to do about [dilemma], your advice was invaluable.
I hope that one day I can repay you for all the help you’ve given me! In the meantime, thank you again.
Template #6 Your Role Model
A holiday card’s a great way to put yourself on your role model’s radar. Trust me, the person will be surprised and flattered by your nice message.
Note: Now isn’t the time to ask for a favor or informational interview—it’ll seem too self-serving. Wait until the new year, when the holiday rush is over.
Happy holidays! I’m a [job title] at [Employer Name], and I’ve been following your career for the past couple [months/years]. I just want to reach out and let you know that you’re incredibly inspiring to me: After all, you [reason why the person is your role model]. I look forward to keeping up with your future ventures.
Template #7 Your Direct Reports
Want to make your direct reports even more loyal to you than they already are? Write ’em a card! (Bonus points if you also include a nice holiday gift.)
I hope you have a great (and not too chilly) holiday season! It has been a privilege to work with you these last [X months/years]. Not only do you [always come up with creative solutions, work really hard, maintain a positive attitude no matter what], but you’re also [a team player, a natural leader, a fantastic motivator]. I’m lucky to have you. Can’t wait to see what we accomplish in 2020.
Template #8 Your Miscellaneous Connections
People you’ve met at networking events, industry friends, and other miscellaneous connections fall into this group.
Happy holidays! It was great seeing you [last time you saw the person]. Hope [job] is going well. We should get together for coffee (or eggnog? ’Tis the season); I want to hear all about it in person.
Template #9 Your Dream Company
OK, this one’s a bit of a long shot. But it can’t hurt—and when you apply, someone might just say, “Oh yeah—she’s the one who sent us a holiday card!”
Dear [Company] team,
I hope you have a fantastic holiday season! I’m a huge fan of what you guys are doing at [Company], and I look forward to [continuing to use your product, following your company updates, and learning more about your awesome culture] in 2020.
P.S. Congrats on [recent company achievement or announcement]!
Oh, and if you’re reading this too late for the holidays—turn these holiday greetings into “Happy New Year” cards instead. That gives you a little bit of extra time to get these out.