One Thing: Start a Ca-ching File

So what is a ca-ching (pronounced like a cash register sound) file? It’s a file — either real or digital — where you put thank you notes, compliments and other kinds of accolades.

Aside from giving you a pick-me-up on a bad day, creating a ca-ching file lets you collect references and testimonials from people you’ve worked with. You can put them in a portfolio and show them off to future employers.

Whenever a professor writes a nice comment on your paper or sends your group a “great job” e-mail after a presentation, put it in your ca-ching file. Congratulations notes are also a good addition. And don’t feel limited to references from authority figures. Also save notes from peers, like members of a student organization or people you worked with on a group project.

I highly recommend taking a good karma approach to ca-ching files. You’re much more likely to get nice notes if you send them. So buy yourself some note cards and say “thanks” or “congrats” to people who deserve it. (And I’m a believer in handwritten notes, especially in the e-mail age.)

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