Happy Holidays! Did you know that between November 1 and mid-January, there are around 30 different traditional holidays celebrated worldwide, including here in North America? While many people take this time to make merry and enjoy a break until the New Year, if you're looking for new work, this can be a great opportunity to kick your job search into high gear. Here’s how to leverage the fact that many people are in in the “holiday spirit.”
Networking at Holiday Events
This week will see more networking events and social get-togethers. Here are 6 tips to help you make the most of these occasions.
- Plan ahead: Whether an employer-sponsored party or a social affair, make the most of gatherings by planning in advance. Set a goal to meet and get the contact information from at least 3-5 people per event. Your objective is to make connections you can contact later for 1:1 meetings.
- Dress appropriately: Make sure you know who you're going to be spending time with. Don’t wear business formal if the event is more casual and vice versa. And if it’s an Ugly Christmas Sweater party, go for it! It leads to great conversations, connections and shows your lighter side.
- Bring a buddy: Having a “wing” man or woman can help you cover more ground and gives you someone to chat with if you need a break or pep-talk.
- Imbibe with care: A holiday networking event is not the time to over indulge. Maintain your professionalism and drink in moderation.
- Exchange: Leave your resume at home: your goal is to set the stage for the future. That being said, do give everyone you meet your personal business card, and ask for theirs to make following up easy.
- Converse: Focus on the person you're speaking with v. you and your job search. Show genuine interest on a personal level and avoid talking about business–you’re not trying to make a deal!
- Prepare for follow up: Make a brief note about each person you meet noting a salient pint or tow you can refer to in your follow up.
Those who will be working this week and next are often “minding the store” in what is a quiet time for many organizations. As a result, they may have the time and inclination to meet, chat by phone or at least respond to correspondence. Even if you can’t connect in person, here are 6 tips to empower your outreach over the holidays.
- Network purposefully: Rather than focusing what you want/need, reach out to people in your network and potential employers for the sole purpose of building/deepening relationships.
- Send greetings of the season: Use the holidays to send a paper or electronic greeting card v. an impersonal email to each contact.
- Expand your marketing: Create a 1-page professional Summary document or Bio that highlights your key skills, qualifications and experience and send it to networking contacts who don't necessarily have a job opening.
- Build a wish list: Create a list of as industries/sectors/organizations of interest and why you are focusing on them that you can send to people who ask “What are you looking for?”
- Keep your network going: The holidays are a perfect time to circle back to contacts you may have spines to in the past with an update.
- Stay in touch over time: Stay visible to key contacts by using creative strategies like endorsing their skills on LinkedIn and using search engine alerts to follow their interests.
Use these tips for work, professional and social events as well as 1:1 meetings to support your holiday networking. May your days be merry an bright, and may all your networking go right!