Throwback Thursday: 3 Vital ‘Old-School’ Career Advancement Practices That Still Work

On Thursdays, many on social media share photos from the past using hashtag #TBT (for Throwback Thursday) to reminisce on events and experiences. It’s a fun way to connect, remember how far we’ve all come, laugh at mistakes (ie bad haircuts or cliche slang), and can even serve as a marketing tool for companies.

With the popularity of social media and the way it has changed the way the world communicates, reports news, conducts business and makes hiring decisions, some traditional communications practices of sharing information and insights have become a thing of the past.

Social media is an awesome tool for advancement if used wisely, but it’s not the end-all-be-all when it comes to sealing a deal, landing a gig or getting new business. There are still some old-school—well, what could be deemed as old-school in this age of Facebook updates and Twitter beefs—practices that are relevant today and can lead to big wins in one’s career.

Check out three and see how they might fit into the way you communicate and network, especially as a young professional:

1. Real, paper, greeting cards and branded postcards: I’m all for e-vites and dancing digital cards, but to get something in snail mail still has its allure. It really makes the receiver feel extra special that you took the time to not only purchase a card—whether a thank you, an invite or just a word of encouragement—but you actually got postage for it and put in the mailbox. I still keep cards that former interns, freelancers and others I’ve worked with have sent, and to be honest, it makes them stand out a bit more in terms of connecting and keeping in touch. Don’t break the bank, but make the effort. (One great budget-friendly thing to do is buy a box of blank cards that either have your initials on them or can be customized for any occasion, especially when they’re on sale. Also, you can find affordable stationary at sites like

2. Phone follow-ups: For young professionals who are busy climbing the ladder this may seem a bit overwhelming—even likened to a nuisance—in terms of lots of conversations via phone. However, if you’ve already made the initial connection and you are ready to take plans a step further, calling vs. emailing oftentimes wins. Some business people would rather talk through the execution of a project, for example, instead of detailing it via email. Also, sometimes, phone conversations can give people a sense of who they’re doing business with and how that person handles business (ie. professionalism, trouble-shooting and problem-solving skills). So, make that phone call when necessary.

3. On-site, face-to-face (or actual-real-experiences vs. virtual-tell-me-how-it-is-via-the-Web pitches): It’s great to be able to save time via Skype meetings and virtual tours, but in some industries—such as sales, fashion, tourism or manufacturing— actually being able to experience a process or product first-hand is vital. Sometimes you have to actually put in the legwork in order to effectively get the job done. In this case, get from the behind the computer screen and find a way to directly connect with prospective employers, clients and partners on a personal level.

What other traditional business practices are still relevant today, even in the age of social media and technology? #Soundoff and follow me on Twitter @JPHazelwood.

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