Barbara Safani 20 Comments

holidayThis month, members of the Career Collective are discussing tips to help job seekers ramp up their efforts for the holiday season and New Year. Here are my thoughts on making the most of your job search during the holiday season.

I’ve been spending the past few evenings writing out holiday cards to my clients. I find that holidays are a great way to reconnect with clients and find out what they have been up to.

The same can be said for job seekers. The holidays provide a natural touch point for reaching out to your network and seeing how friends, family, and colleagues are doing. It’s also an excellent way to become top of mind with people in your network and open up a dialogue in the New Year. Here are some other things you can do during the holiday season to beef up your network and start meaningful career conversations in the New Year.

  1. Attend holiday parties. Many professional associations host holiday parties. This is a great way to meet others in your field that may be able to make meaningful introductions for you.
  2. Throw your own party. Have an intimate dinner party or a bigger bash at your home or nearby restaurant. This is a great way to practice your pitch, and reconnect with people who may be able to assist you in your search.
  3. Ask for informational interviews. The last two weeks of December are traditionally slow for most businesses. You may find that the decision makers who are in the office during those last two weeks are more likely to take a meeting with you.
  4. Volunteer. Tis the season…volunteer to do something meaningful in your personal or professional communities during December.  Doing so can increase your visibility and jump start some conversations with people who may be able to help you in the New Year.
  5. Take a vacation. What better way to meet new decision makers? It doesn’t need to be extravagent…just find new people to have conversations with. Let them know what you do and ask for their suggestions for expanding your brand’s reach in a very informational, non-threatening way. You may just pick up a lead or two.
  6. Reconnect with friends of “Christmas Past”. Check out LinkedIn and Facebook and search for old friends. What better time to reconnect than the holiday season? Get over the fact that it’s been awhile since you last spoke and take the first step. You may be pleasantly surprised by the response you get.

You can read what my colleagues at The Career Collective suggest here:

@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes, Season’s Greetings and your Job Search”

@GayleHoward, The Executive Brand, “It’s Christmas: And a ho-ho-ho-hum?”

@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, “The Gift Every Laid Off Job Seeker Needs”

@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog,Holiday Resume Sparkle: Outshine the New Year Job-Search Mob

@heathermundell, life@work, “Have a Holly Jolly Job Search”

@sweetcareers,Sweet Careers, “Holiday Job Search Tips for College Students 2009″

@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Cheers”

@careerealism, CAREEREALISM.com, “Holiday Tip for Job Seekers: 4 Ways to Impress Others with Your Professionalism”

@heatherhuhman, HeatherHuhman.com, “4 Tips for Making the Most of Holiday Job Hunting”

@LaurieBerenson, Sterling Career Concepts, Three Resolutions to Take It Up a Notch”

@KatCareerGal, Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, “Avoiding the Holiday Blues in Your Job Search”

@WorkWithIllness, WorkingWithillness.com, Avoid this Minefield: Drive Your Bus!”

@DawnBugni, “The Write Solution Could that sound really be opportunity? During the Holidays?”

@andyinnaples, “Shift Your Focus to the Highest Impact Job Search Activities During the Holidays to Leverage Your Time”

@erinkennedycprw, Professional Resume Services, How to keep up the Job Hunt during the Holidays”

@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, “Four tips for effective networking follow-up for the holidays and the rest of the year”

@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, “Navigating the Mistle Toe of Job Search”

@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, “Merry Christmas! Can I Buy You Coffee to Talk About Me?”

@expatcoachmegan, Career By Choice Blog, “Expat Networking: Holidays Are a Great Time to Nurture and Grow Your Network”

@chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog, “Footprints & Associations: Job Search Tips for the Holidays”

@JobHuntOrg, Job-Hunt.org, “(Holiday) Party Your Way to a New Job”

— 20 Comments —

  1. Good tips, Barbara. No kidding, last night I received an email from someone who had reached out to me OVER A YEAR AGO via a mutual contact to “network.’ He had recently lost his job. Since then, nothing. But now that he is again jobless….now he networks?
    I am thinking maybe it is time for some tough love for him, what about you?

  2. Barbara,

    All great points! I definitely think that taking advantage of peoples’s slower schedules to secure informational interviews is a great way to capitalize on what some see as a challenging time for job seekers.

    Happy holidays!

    Megan Fitzgerald

  3. GL,

    I see this happen in professional memberships all the time. Some people join when they need a job but are never involved with contributing to the organization when they are employed. Networking doesn’t really work unless it is authentic and consistent.

  4. Megan,

    Yep…by the last week of the year those people left in the office are dying for company. Sounds like a great time to network to me!

  5. Great points, Barbara! I love the suggestion to volunteer during the holiday season. A perfect time of year to give back to those less fortunate and a great way to move out of your comfort zone and expand your network.

  6. Barbara,

    Great, pragmatic points that make sense!

    Number 6: Reconnect with friends from Christmas Past is a good one! Most people are more ‘arms wide open’ and amenable to renewing withered relationships, softening up a bit with the holiday spirit. In fact, a recent, ‘ole’ friend of mine (from junior high) reached out to me via Facebook – it seemed timely, this most ‘wonderful time of the year’ to see her smiling, a bit more aged, but extremely inviting mug in my communication stream.

    Great writing, as usual, Barbara!

    Jacqui

  7. Love your idea of “take a vacation”. My hubby travels a lot for business and just about every week when he comes home he has a business card with him and says “I met a nice person today she was the CEO of Company Name”. It’s easy to click with people when you’re sitting right next to them! As long as you’re friendly, share a laugh, and sound interested in them, people will share a lot with you on flights. Information you may use or a business card you may call on if you click. Of course travelling isn’t for everyone naturally, but for people seriously looking to make their next strategic career move and have the money to do it, there are some positive things about mixing business with pleasure!

  8. You summed it up so nicely: Natural Touch Point. Opportunities emerge from the most unusual places. No reason why not to a little fun while finding them. And what’s more fun than reconnecting with friends and family.

    Excellent guidance.

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