Network Yourself Ahead this Holiday Season

November 19, 2010

Job Search, Networking, Support Systems

The holidays are here!  Did you know that networking during the holiday season can be quite a successful endeavor?  While most people are taking some time off from their job search to spend with family, shop for presents, and decorate their homes, a minority of job seekers are using this “down” time to network actively with past/present colleagues and supervisors, classmates, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers!network game piece

Most businesses begin to slow down around the time Thanksgiving approaches.  It isn’t until January that people become much busier again.  This allows you to more easily reach people who are less available during other months of the year.  I challenge you to use this holiday season as a time to not only celebrate the holidays, but to contact those who you have been meaning to talk to about potential job opportunities.  Wouldn’t it be magical to start a new, fulfilling job this upcoming year?  Follow these networking guidelines to make sure you are taking full advantage of this holiday season.

1. Every event is a networking opportunity. Whether you are attending a holiday party, a gathering at your neighbor’s house, or even an informal exchange at the store or local cafe, you have the ability to make contact with people who could be beneficial to connect with.  Many folks are in good spirits and more receptive to meeting new people at this time of the year.  Treat every event you go to as an opportunity to build new relationships.

2. Set a goal. Approaching each event with a specific goal in mind will help you walk away with more results.  For example, at an event where you know there will be 30 people, your goal could be introducing yourself to eight new people.  What is most important though is the quality of your connections, not the quantity.  Be sure to have your business cards handy and a 30-45 second “elevator pitch”.

3. Stay focused. Remember that these opportunities are about expanding your circle of relevant contacts and learning and remembering as much as you can from your conversations.  It’s a good idea to take notes — either on the back of business cards or in a small notebook or electronic device.  This will allow you to recall some important details of your conversation when you follow-up with people.

4. Have something of value to follow up with. Offer to send something valuable to each new contact — whether it’s a copy of an article you wrote, the name of a colleague who they may benefit from contacting on LinkedIn.com — anything that can help you build the relationship to benefit both you and them.

5. Timely follow up and thank each contact. The holidays are a busy time.  If you obtain others’ email addresses, send them a short friendly note thanking them after the event and remind them of how they can assist you and vice versa.  Also consider adding them as a connection on LinkedIn or Plaxo.com.  To maximize the value of your networking efforts, be sure to follow up early in the new year.  Make keeping in touch regularly with your network your New Year’s resolution.  You don’t want to be ‘out of touch; out of mind.’  Persistence is a strong advantage in the job market.

Happy networking and happy holidays!

Andrea KillionAndrea Killion, MS, NCC, MCC
Careerful Counseling Services
www.careerful.com
info@careerful.com
503-997-9506
Andrea specializes in assisting clients achieve rewarding employment. She works with adult clients from all industries and stages who are either unemployed or employed (or somewhere in between). Whether you are looking for work, trying to figure out what career to pursue, or unsure whether to stay in your current position, Andrea can assist you with these issues and more.

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5 Comments on “Network Yourself Ahead this Holiday Season”

  1. steve Says:

    These are good ideas. Thanks! I was trying to find a reason to attend the numerous holiday parties my wife rsvp’d to and now I have a goal. I will try to meet 1/4 of each group before the libations kick in.

    Reply

    • Andrea King - Careerful Counseling Services Says:

      Steve,

      I am glad the article was helpful and that you will be networking soon.

      All the best!

      Andrea King, M.S., N.C.C., M.C.C.

      Reply

  2. steve Says:

    I’m attending my fifth party within a few hours. My favorite intro question has been:
    “Who are you?” Once the disbelief on their faces breaks into a smile, I listen to who they are, then what they do for work. A number of times they are not what they do. It’s been an interesting question to toss out there. And maybe it works because, like you say, people are more receptive to meeting new people.

    Reply

    • Vicki Lind, MS Says:

      What fun! My daughter lives in Italy and she thinks that the most common American question “What do you do?’ doesn’t really help people connect.
      “Who are you?” invites us to get to the heart!

      Reply

  3. Andrea King, MS, NCC, MCC Says:

    Great Steve, I am so happy you are benefiting from all the networking you are doing at the holiday functions. I think it is great to ask “Who are you?” as Vicki commented, it really does allow people to identify who they truly believe they are, which is normally always more than what they do for a living.

    Reply

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