One of the most important aspects of conducting a job search is remembering to thank everyone who has helped you.
We all know the drill on what happens, though.
Someone helps us along the way, and in the back of our mind, we think, "Oooooh, I should send them a thank you note..." and then life happens. Kids need to get to soccer practice, you've got a new job lead you are following up on, and there's that meeting you need to get to... time slips by quickly.
...And then you realize a week or so later, "Gee, I really should have sent that thank you..."
And you are absolutely right. You should have. But you didn't.
More importantly, what you have lost is much more than an opportunity to thank someone. You've also lost an opportunity to demonstrate your integrity as a person. Taking a moment to express appreciation isn't necessarily expected nor required, but it does set people apart and say a lot about you as a person. Those who take a moment to jot down a quick note (and I don't mean just a quick email!) and send via snail mail shows that you care, have attention to detail, and are eager to build a relationship with a person... and not just scramble over the top of them on your climb up the career ladder.
By not thanking someone, the person who went to bat for you only hears silence. And when you fail to thank those who are going to great lengths to help you succeed, the likelihood of them helping you out again is practically zero. Most people who get ‘burned’ like this don’t take the time to try and educate the person who asked for their help on what it was that they did wrong. And that's when you never hear from them again or find out that they don't really try to help you anymore.
It doesn't take much to find a moment and acknowledge the favor or the person. A simple, “Wow, thank you so much for (insert whatever the person did for you here) ” always will suffice. We're not talking a long essay.
Pushed on time? Buy a blank packet of 'thank you notes' the next time when you are at the store. When checking out, buy some stamps. It's that easy.
Simple, quick, and effective.
You need to build your fan base of professional colleagues... because you never know when everything comes full-circle again and you might need their help again.
And people have long memories of those who took what they needed from you and never took the time to say thank you- it's a powerful tool in any job search.