Using the Holidays To Power Up Your Job Search Networking

 

For those of you who are still looking for at job, reaching the end of the year with your mission unfulfilled can make you feel frustrated and like a failure. The holidays are here and you might not want to celebrate too much.

 

Yet, the reality is just the opposite. The holiday season is a great time to continue your job search and to make great inroads.  Because many job seekers think the holidays are a dormant period, they tend to calm up on their networking between Thanksgiving and early January.

 

What this does, however, is drastically reduce the competition for any job you are seeking. And, it increases the odds that you will gain access to hiring managers and human resources personnel. So, now that things are looking up a little bit for you, what should you do to take advantage of the marketplace this holiday season? Well, getting to work right away is a good start. Here are eight things that you can do to use the holidays wisely for your job search.

 

1.     Check Your List. Not your list of presents, but your list of Web sites, job boards/sites that regularly detail positions in which you are interested. Don’t give up on these sites as companies often will post in December new positions to fill after the first of the year, and efficient hiring managers will want to get a jump start on filling them.

2.     Pick up the Phone. This is a great time to call (or e-mail) all of the hiring managers and human resources people that you know or with whom you have come in contact during your job search. It’s a great opportunity to see if anything new has opened up at their company and what their hiring plans are for the new year. It also will allow you the chance to briefly discuss your goals and qualifications, and to wish them a happy holiday season and happy new year.

3.     Keep Your Network Active. The holiday season also is a great time to continue your networking. Call, e-mail, or write to your friends, former co-workers, and professional acquaintances, or reconnect with them through social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Let them know how you’re doing, the status of your job search, and wish them well for the holidays and the upcoming year. They are very likely to keep you in mind if they hear of a job opening that would fit your needs.

4.     Send Out the Cards. Pick out some nondenominational holiday cards, and send them out to the hiring managers, human resources personnel, friends, and professional associates whom you know. This is a great follow-up or precede to your call or e-mail. Keeping in touch with this group will strengthen your professional network, and help keep all the lines of communication open for your job search.

5.     Don’t Avoid Your Company’s Events. Even if you’re not happy with your present work arrangement, don’t be an old stick in the mud. Attend your company’s holiday events with a smile on your face. Some of your co-workers might know about your job search, many others are likely not to know. But, by keeping the lines of communication open with your co-workers, you might pick up a valuable tip for your job search, and you never who could be your most influential reference.

6.     Attend Other Holiday Functions. When invited to other holiday parties and events, be certain to attend. These are great opportunities to meet new people, make new contacts, and extend your network. Bring your business cards. But, don’t be pushy. When asked what you do, you can briefly explain your current circumstances, your career goals, and how you plan to achieve them. And, that’s the right time to give out your business card.

7.     Be a Volunteer. If you don’t think you’re likely to be invited to many holiday functions, try volunteering. Check out some charitable organizations that you might be interested in, and see what holiday parties, fundraisers, and benefits they might have scheduled during the holiday season. These organizations are always looking for volunteers to help staff their events, and it would be a great way to meet new people and make new contacts, possibly even in a professional area in which you might be interested.

8.     Be Positive. Stay in the holiday mood, spread good cheer, be active, and think positively. A positive attitude goes a long way in helping you reach your goals. And, it’s contagious. Your contacts will want to help you, they’ll be eager to recommend you, and any positive interaction you have with professional associates, hiring managers, and human resources personnel greatly increases your chances of landing the job you want.

If you follow these eight tips and stay active during the holiday season, you can take advantage of a time of reduced competition when many others are too busy or too discouraged to work on their job search. In the end, you might give yourself the best present possible—a new job that’s just right for you.