Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out builtbygirls.com.
No matter where you are in your career — just starting out, still in school, or interning — staying in touch with your managers and mentors has never been more important.
The job market is uncertain, and the more people you stay connected with, the better. You never know what that continued relationship could lead to down the line. It could simply be more awesome career advice, help on a future project, or maybe they connect you to your dream job.
Following up with connections and staying in touch can feel awkward if you’re not sure what to say or when the right time is. But just like nailing an interview or preparing for a networking event, it’s much easier if you have a plan and get lots of practice. It’s best to reach out via email every couple of months — enough to stay on their radar, but not too often to become annoying. The holidays and new year are a perfect time to start these conversations.
Here are four email templates that will help you reach out to your connections during the holidays and beyond:
Happy Holidays or Happy New Year
This is the time of year when people want to connect the most, especially this year, when many people are changing plans and are unable to see extended family. A professional but friendly message will be a welcome surprise in their inbox and remind them how thoughtful you are.
Here’s an example for your mentor, manager, or particularly helpful teacher:
Seasons greetings [be more specific if you know how they celebrate] and Happy New Year! I’m feeling especially grateful this time of year for the invaluable advice and guidance you’ve passed on to me. Thank you for [specific time they helped you or advice they’ve given you].
I’d love to connect after the holidays and catch up, but until then, I just wanted to say thank you for all you’ve done for me and my career.
Share an article
You’ve met with them enough to know their basic interests. When you see an article or report that they may be interested in — send it their way. This will show them you’re still engaged and keep you top of mind.
Your email can say something like:
I hope you’re doing well. I saw this article about [article topic]. I remember discussing [topic] with you and thought you might be interested.
Congratulate them on a launch, promotion, or new job
Be as invested in your mentor’s success as they are in yours. Keep tabs on their professional wins on LinkedIn or join their company’s mailing list if they have one. When you see their team has reached a new milestone or finished a launch or that they’ve leveled up in their career, send them an email. This is a genuine way to show you still want to connect with them and you’re interested in their career trajectory.
Here’s an example:
Congratulations on your new job at [company]. I was so excited to see your newest career move on Linkedin. I’d love to catch up and hear more about this new position once you’ve settled in.
[Here you can catch them up on what’s been going on with you. Did you graduate, complete an internship, finish a huge project? These are things you can share with them.]
Good luck in your new position!
Invite them to catch up, aka “it's been a while”
You have an established relationship with this person, so it’s appropriate to drop them a line every once in a while simply to catch up.
It can go like this:
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to send you a message to see how things were going at [name of company]. I’d love to reconnect sometime and catch you up on what I’ve been up to [post graduation or since we last spoke].
Use these templates as a jumping-off point, but make them your own. Do yourself a favor and take five minutes right now to set calendar reminders to reach out to your contacts throughout the next year. Maintaining authentic connections is the most valuable networking skill you can cultivate and all it takes is just being yourself and being consistent in your outreach.
Read more information and tips in our Career section