Thanksgiving is a great time for job seekers to reach out to professional contacts and wish them well.

By Arnie Fertig

Never have so many job-hunting resources been available for free, including informative articles, job sites and social media.

U S News & World Report, Money, November 24, 2015 — What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Beyond the blessings of family, friends, parades, turkey, football and the beginning of Black Friday sales, there are five things for which job hunters should be especially appreciative.

1. Be thankful for your family members who have supported your efforts and buoyed up your spirits. Take a moment before or during your Thanksgiving dinner to tell your family how much they mean to you in your time of transition.

Think about words of encouragement, help with your resume, introductions to others or ideas they’ve shared with you about how to get through your transition – and then give voice to what meant the most to you.

The bottom line is to make sure that those who love you most know how much you appreciate their being an integral part of your life.

2. Be thankful for people who have extended themselves on your behalf. In the course of your search for a new job, chances are that any number of people, from close friends to acquaintances, have done things to advance your cause.

Perhaps they introduced you to someone to help expand your network or provide you with information on a company, career path or something else. Perhaps it was the HR phone screener who first talked with you about a position and moved your candidacy to the next step. Maybe it was a receptionist who greeted you when you arrived for an interview. Or perhaps it was the hiring manager who extended you the courtesy of their time and consideration for an interview, even if it turned out that you ultimately weren’t their candidate of choice.

Thanksgiving is a great time for you to reach back out to those people who have done what they could for you over the past months, reconnect and wish them well. Express your gratitude, even if they can’t do anything for you at this moment. Remember that relationships are about humans connecting with one another, not just asking for things.

When you see this season as a “networkable” moment, it offers good reasons for legitimate “non-ask” communication between you and others. It may lay the groundwork for ongoing goodwill, which will be of tremendous importance to you down the road.

3. Be thankful for people in your larger network – and let them know it. This is a great time to reach out with a simple message: “Thinking of you … and glad that you are part of my network.” And while you are at it, ask what they’ve been up to and offer your assistance in any way possible going forward.

Remember that networking is about “paying it forward” by giving before you make an “ask” for anything. You want to be known as a giving person. When you build that reputation for yourself, you’ll be seen as the kind of person that others take joy in helping whenever they can.

4. Be thankful for the freedom to set your own course toward an interesting and fulfilling career. It is hard to think of a time in history when technology and the free flow of information have provided such a wide array of career paths. It can be daunting to figure out “what you want to do when you grow up,” whether you are 18 years old or middle-aged. And these days, we can expect to have a greater variety of careers over the course of our working lives.

Perhaps one path has been closed off to you because of business conditions, outsourcing or some other reason. Rather than despair, be thankful for the impetus to reassess your professional life.

Take the opportunity to seek career guidance from a professional with modern psychological and aptitude tests at his or her disposal and the capacity to intelligently work with you to discern your key aptitudes, strengths and personality traits. Then you can figure out what roles are best suited for you.

5. Be thankful for the plethora of free resources available to help you in your search. Never have so many job-hunting resources been available for free. You can easily find advice and informative columns online. You can access the open positions of almost any company on its website and have job ads scoured and aggregated for you by sites, such as Indeed and SimplyHired.

You can build and have instant access to an incredibly large network of connections on LinkedIn. While some may find LinkedIn’s paid membership levels worthwhile, most people can get by with the free account accessible to anyone.

Most colleges make their career services department available to alumni for free or a nominal charge. You can easily keep up with news of your occupation through any number of avenues without charge. And all this is the tip of the iceberg.

When you step back, put your job search into a larger perspective and reach out to express your appreciation, you may unleash the stimulus you needed to bring your hunt to a happy conclusion.

Happy hunting!