Holiday Networking for a New Job Print E-mail

by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

Getting a new job offer is the ‘holiday gift’ many people are wishing for this year. This time of year offers a multitude of opportunities to network and increase your chances of landing that new job. Traditional networking continues to be one of the strongest tools in any job search. Take advantage of these tips to boost your networking efforts during the holidays!

1) The holidays are not a time to take off from your job search.

As tempting as it may be to set your job search aside during the busy holiday season, you are only hurting yourself if you do so. The holidays offer a number of opportunities to network, whether you are strengthening existing relationships or building new connections. By continuing your job search, you are much more likely to get ahead of the competition who is likely taking a break instead of maximizing opportunities to network.

2) You can network during the holidays without being crass.

It may be necessary for you to shift your mindset about networking during the holidays. Although the hard press is not recommended, running through your elevator speech or mentioning your interest in a certain position is acceptable at any social function.

3) Initiate contact with your network.

The holiday season is a great time to refresh relationships with key members of your network. Reach out and schedule coffee to catch up with important contacts. The one-on-one meeting creates an opportunity to discuss your career search plans in greater detail. Tap the person’s expertise by asking for objective feedback about your resume or job search strategies.

4) Stock up on business cards.

People tend to be out more often during the holiday season attending personal, business, and charitable functions. Spruce up your business cards by including a link to your online presence and hand them out when you run into people unexpectedly. The beauty of networking is the unpredictable serendipity of not knowing which contact can lead to your next position. Be prepared for the unexpected opportunity!

5) Plan your strategy for networking.

It’s still early enough to plan formal contacts throughout the holiday season. Begin thinking of all the ways in which you may network online, face-to-face, or through traditional mailings. Get ready to say “yes” to social events and local fundraisers by keeping your calendar open for the next few weeks. If you don’t typically receive a lot of invitations, you may want to begin planning an open house of your own. Visit your local sales promotion shop for specialized holiday cards or gift items that you can drop off in person for greater impact.

6) Follow up with thank you notes.

Be sure to stock up on professional business stationery for sending thank you notes. The follow up is a great way to reinforce the positive impression you want to maintain from your networking efforts. If you set up a coffee meeting, thank the person for their time and willingness to share their expertise. If you just bumped into someone around town, use the follow up note to reinforce the pleasant surprise of seeing them again. The key is to stay in the minds of all the members of your network to increase your chances of landing a job during the holidays.

7) Plan Ahead to Revise Your Resume

You may feel confident revising your own resume, but might also want to consider seeking the services of a professional to create your best resume for the season. Just like other businesses, resume writing services often get overbooked during the holiday season as people prepare to launch new job searches after the holidays. Don’t get left behind due to poor planning when you realize too late that you need to update your resume.

Craft your game plan to make the most of networking opportunities throughout the holidays. Shift your mindset to become more comfortable with maximizing every contact, even if you have to create the meetings yourself. Get prepared and leverage your holiday network to land a new job!