“On January 1, I made an unusual resolution. I committed to sending one hand-written letter per week—and not to relatives, or friends, or former teachers, but to other professionals. What would these letters say? That would depend on the week and the person. (Basically, I’d wing it.) My only rule was the letter wouldn’t include any requests; I didn’t want it to come off as a polite way of asking for something.
At the end of the first week, I actually had the perfect reason to write a letter. I’d been working with a PR rep on a story and wanted to thank her for her helpfulness, responsiveness, and all-around great attitude. Not only did she give me everything I needed for the article, but she also took the time to answer my questions about the public relations industry and her career. I’m interested in PR, so getting an entry-level employee’s perspective was super helpful.
I dropped a letter saying all that in the mail. A week later, I got a happy email.
“I almost never get mail at work, so I was super excited!” it read. “By the way, did you have any luck finding a summer internship? If you forward me your resume, I’ll pass it along to our VP!”
I’d mentioned I was looking for a summer position during one of our conversations, but we’d never brought it up again, and I certainly hadn’t mentioned it in the letter. While my gesture wasn’t done out of self-interest, it may end up transforming my career—and even if I don’t get the internship, I’ll have turned a casual professional relationship into a stronger connection…”