The holidays will be here before you know it, and that means gatherings, parties, and more social events. If you’re looking to engage in job networking, you may think that this is not the time to start – but that’s not true! With the combination of being around people you know now and those you are meeting for the first time, the holidays can really jump start your job search. Here are a few easy ways that you can improve your job networking during the holiday season:
- Enjoy the chit chat: With the holidays come parties and people who want to chat, and talking about work is a natural part of the chit chat – but only a part. During the holidays, let the conversation flow naturally, otherwise, you may come across as too blunt, and that’s not quite the way you want to be remembered. Engage but don’t overdo it. And remember that your goal is simply to gain introductions or referrals to people, continuously expanding and strengthening your network. If you ask if your contact knows of a job opening the answer will most frequently be “no.” But if you ask for an introduction to other people that your contact knows, the answer will often be in the affirmative.
- Have your contact information and resume ready: It may be that some people know of an opportunity for you, give you their card, and ask you to contact them – which is great! You don’t want to be unprepared, so make sure your cover letter, resume, and references are ready to go; you want to make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.
- Follow up on your contacts: If you do have job networking prospects, make sure you follow up on them. But because it’s the holidays, people are in happier spirits and would enjoy talking with you, and your strategy should reflect that – make the conversation reasonably light and relaxed, but still to the point.
- Have your own gathering: It is better to give than to receive – and it can be a great idea to host your own holiday party. Invite friends and colleagues, acquaintances and neighbors. You never know who might hold the key to new job networking chances. It also lets people know what gracious, conscientious, and enjoyable company you are – which makes for a great first impression.
- Continue your networking: Don’t let your job networking end simply because the holidays have ended. Follow up with the people you have met to see how they are and to see if they might be able to introduce or refer you to others. Keeping yourself gently in their mind can yield great things.
- Be patient: Even after the gatherings, the possibilities, and the contacts, you still may not yet have the opportunity you were hoping for. However, you need to be patient. People are busy, have commitments, or are waiting for their managers to return from their holidays before anything can move forward. Waiting is the name of the game during the holidays, and good things can come to those who wait.
Any time is a good time to start job networking, holiday season or not. You may need to adjust your strategy based on the time of year and social mood, but with the tips above, you’ll know how to gain and maintain contacts while having a good time. Good luck and enjoy!