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Is It Taboo to Give Thank-You Gifts to References?


Dear Experts,

Are thank you gifts for references OK once I’ve accepted a job? I’m a new graduate and as this is my first job search, I have a few people who I would like to get small gifts to thank for helping me out. Not all of them are references, but a couple are. Is this completely taboo?

Here is how our T.A.P. experts answered this question:

@sweetcareers Q#186 Depends on reference, but it’s ok to give a small gift. Books are a nice option.

@ValueIntoWords Q#186 Agree w/it being OK to send small gift; if possible, personalize that gift 2 individual personality/preference.

@louise_fletcher Q#186 Not at all! I think it’s a lovely idea and that kind of thoughtfulness will pay off for you down the line.

@DebraWheatman Q#186 Gift is unnecessary 4 providing a reference. nice thank you note is more than sufficient as expression of gratitude.

@beneubanks Q#186 I sent a copy of the popular KnowHR book to my reference. It’s a great way to say thanks and give back!

@gradversity Q#186 I would just stick with a short, sincere thank you call. I don’t think an actual gift is necessary.

@dawnbugni Q#186 Expressing gratitude never taboo. Agree w/others thank-you notes sufficient. Small tokens OK too.

@teenarose Q#186 Thoughtful! References believe in you … gift is nice touch, but I agree with @jtodonnell, not required.

@AndyInNaples Q#186 Big believer in “thank you” gifts and notes. Nothing extravagant. Always a nice touch. Shows you care.

@jtodonnell Q#186 Not taboo, but not necessary. Thank you note will do. Helping others is part of being a good professional.

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