This post originally published on MakeItMissoula.com in December, 2010.
By JENNIFER SHRYOCK
As the holiday season skates along, it might be tempting to steer your sleigh away from your job hunt, with good intentions of re-starting in the New Year. Don’t wait! The simple truth is that rarely are there more opportunities to reconnect with (and expand) your network than during the social season of greeting cards, holiday cheer, Secret Santas, and Christmas parties.
Send Holiday greeting cards. What better excuse is there to get in touch with everyone you know, including recruiters, professional contacts, and old friends? It will be so much easier to discuss your job search with someone with whom you’ve had recent contact, even if it was merely a “Happy Holiday” wish. Save the job talk for a follow-up—consider this the ice breaker.
Even if you are frustrated with your job search, be sure that your interactions with others spread goodwill. Not only will this present you in a professional and positive light, you will surely enjoy the benefits of your cheer reflected back to you.
You know that office tradition of giving gifts anonymously? Think of your social interactions as opportunities to serve others, to be a Secret Santa, even if you never get anything in return beyond the joy of giving.
For more on the power of generosity as a networking approach, read The Magic Of Networking: What I Learned from My Fairy Godmother.
The Secret Santa tradition goes both ways—you never know who you might meet or who might act as your own Secret Santa. The important thing is to be out there, interacting with as many people as you can and exchanging good cheer. ‘Tis the season of parties and concerts, and networking opportunities overflow under the job seeker’s Christmas tree.
To make the most of your holiday season:
- Accept all invitations—put on your Christmas plaid and mingle!
- Keep it social—even though your job search is your biggest priority, keep your conversation social, ask questions and listen closely.
- Don’t drink too much.
- Leave your desperation at the door. A social gathering isn’t the time to ask for a job, but if the conversation naturally turns toward work, respond calmly and with confidence. Try something like, “You know, I’m between jobs right now. If you hear of anything in my field, I’d really appreciate hearing about it.”
- Follow Up—It helps to jot down notes (after the party) about who you met and what you spoke about. A few days later, call or email your connections in order to continue the conversation.
You never know which connection might become your job search Secret Santa, or might introduce you to your next employer. Take advantage of the holiday social scene to get a jump start on the New Year! Who knows, you might just land a job while everyone else is on holiday.