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Editor at Large

Send Christmas cards to help your career and the post office

If your family mails dozens or even hundreds of Christmas or holiday greeting cards every year, it's wise to send even more.

These holiday cards, though, are for work colleagues.

It’s a good idea to send holiday cards to fellow managers and, of course, your boss, says Allison & Taylor Inc., a professional reference-checking company based in Minnesota.

It shows that you value your relationship with your company and respect your colleagues.

“Additionally, surveys have shown that they are widely appreciated in the business world as a whole; recipients are more likely to do business with a company or individual that sends holiday greeting cards,” Allison & Taylor says.

The company also says to send the real thing, not e-cards. One reason is that senior managers may regard e-cards as inappropriate and lacking the personal touch.

One might add that e-cards might not even be opened, thanks to ineptitude and-or fears of a computer virus.

The following tips are taken verbatim from Allison & Taylor:

Reasons why a traditional holiday greeting card is a good idea:

(1) Connecting with your bosses (or a former boss) will help keep you top-of-mind in their awareness, translating to possible future support or opportunity.

(2) Staying in touch with bosses and colleagues via a holiday card is a subtle yet highly effective form of networking. (It’s also less expensive than taking them to lunch, and won’t violate corporate edicts if sent via personal mail.)

(3) Sending your bosses (also former bosses, colleagues, suppliers, etc.) a card demonstrates a personal touch to accompany your business relationship.

(4) Staying in the favor of your prospective employment references (particularly former bosses) is critical to your future employment success. … Consider that a greeting card could prove to be a small, but critical, investment in your professional future.

(5) Developing and maintaining positive relationships with your management team, co-workers and former bosses will ultimately be a cornerstone of success in your career.

Tips for sending the right holiday greeting card:

(1) Choose a high-quality holiday card that allows no possibility of offending its recipient. Remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas – be mindful of religious and cultural nuances, particularly with your international recipients.

(2) Choose a design that is appropriate for your business associates.

(3) Keep your contact list accurate and up-to-date. Make sure you’re not sending a card to someone who has left the department or the company.

(4) Check the spelling of your contacts and their corporate name. Any good points you’ll score with a holiday card will be lost if you misspell your contact’s name or corporate information.

(5) Include one of your business cards inside the greeting card. This small insertion ensures that your recipients have your most current contact information and will reinforce your name with the card’s recipient.

(6) Be sure that your inscriptions on the outside of the card are both legible and attractive. Consider using a form of calligraphy to make your recipient’s name and address visibly pleasing. Also, be sure to include your return address on the mailing envelope.

(7) Sign each card personally. It only takes a moment to sign your name and write a short greeting, and your business associates will notice and appreciate this more personal gesture.

(8) Don’t be late. In life and in business, timing is everything. Remember that many companies close during the holidays and people take vacation to be with family, so send your cards early. Also note the possibility that a recipient of your card may want (out of consideration or guilt) to respond with a card back to you prior to the holidays. Aim to have all your corporate holiday cards in the mail no later than Dec. 15 if you’re sending them within the U.S., or earlier if you’re sending them via international mail.


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