Add Job Networking to Your Holiday List

by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the holiday activities at this time of year. However, slowing down your job search now may create more serious long-standing damage than lingering after-holiday bills. Companies continue business-as-usual despite all the festivities competing for the time and attention of hiring managers. Take advantage of special activities during the holidays to accelerate your job search. Any contacts you make now put you well ahead of everyone else who is taking the holidays off from the job search.

1) Say “Yes”

Accept every invitation you receive during the holiday season. Invitations may include social events, fundraisers, or volunteering at local charities. Each of these opportunities helps extend your network beyond typical contacts. Stretch your network to learn about new opportunities and spread the word about your own skills and job search. By saying “yes,” you open yourself up to new possibilities and at the same time make yourself a more attractive candidate by projecting a positive image!

2) Share

In the spirit of the season, remember to give as well as receive. Share information you may have learned about the job search or new developments in your field and you will make yourself more memorable. Helping others, even in a social context, is seen as a positive indicator that you are a good team member.

3) Travel Savvy

If you are traveling during the holidays for business or pleasure, make the most of your trip. Scout employers in the area in whom you are interested and arrange a meeting if possible. At the very least prepare a promotional package that includes your resume, white papers, and any other information that promotes your potential value for the company, and drop it off when you are in town.

4) Reach Out

Send holiday notes, whether traditional or electronic, to update friends, family, and members of your network on your status. Cultivate existing contacts and expand your network by sending a brief note to let them know you are thinking of them over the holidays. Discuss your job search in more detail when you follow up with a personal meeting if possible. Personal contact will always give you an edge over the candidate who is only reaching out over the Internet. You may even want to time the sending of your notes when there is a lower volume of correspondence, such as a week before or after the traditional holiday season.

5) Cold Call

Reach out to potential employers during the holidays by phone. Despite expectations that companies are too busy or staff is out of the office, many hiring managers use the holidays to catch up and plan. Learn about position openings or expansions slated for the New Year and the call may be just the ticket to get you in on the ground floor!

Be smart in your job search and let the buoyancy of the season float your resume to the top of the interview list. Social activities inherent in the holiday season create opportunities to connect with an even broader professional network. Keep up your networking and job search efforts during the holidays and you can soon be crossing “getting hired” off your list!