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Thursday, December 01, 2005
Maximize the Holiday Potential
It’s that time of year again – the holidays. With the seemingly endless rounds of parties and get-togethers, it seems more like holi-daze. That infinite stream of eggnog and cheese balls can be a great opportunity for networking toward your next job.

Networking is by far the most hated word in job search. I can preach networking until I’m blue in the face and most clients will still avoid it like the plague in favor of posting their resumes online. It doesn’t seem to matter that networking – just getting out and connecting with people – is still THE most effective job search method. Job seekers groan and cringe when they think of doing the meet and greet dance.

The holidays are ready-made for networking since opportunities for getting together with other people abound. Whether it’s the office party, the neighborhood open house, the church concert, or volunteer opportunities, the holidays are rich ground for networking that masquerades as celebration. Most of the time, the events you attend during the holidays are for fun. Now you can combine fun and networking and make them more enjoyable and more productive toward finding a new job.

The key in networking is to not go into it with an introduction of “Hi, I’m Joe. I’m an engineer and I am looking for a job. Do you know of any?” Instead, approach people as you would at any social gathering. Ask the other person about themselves and as conversation evolves be on the lookout for information that might be helpful to you. For example, a new acquaintance might mention that her boyfriend works for a certain company in which you are interested. If so, ask in the conversation if she knows anything about the company. You will probably end up with a connection to the boyfriend who can help you get your foot in the door. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t take your resume to a party! Do take a small notebook (small enough to fit in your pocket) to jot down names and phone numbers as people offer them. These names and phone numbers are the seeds from which you will grow and harvest your job search connections. Make sure you get the name and phone number (or email) of the person offering the information, too, so you can refer to them or send them a thank you note later.

The holidays are also full of opportunities to volunteer in the community. Getting out and working with toy drives, baskets for the poor, and other civic activities brings you into contact with the business community. These are excellent network contacts. By volunteering, you not only do something productive for others but you also end up rubbing shoulders with other professionals who are in positions to be of help to you in finding your next job.

So next time your spouse announces another holiday event that is a must to attend, don’t groan. Instead, look at it as a ready-made opportunity to extend your efforts without it seeming so painful. Networking can be accomplished just as easily over glasses of champagne as it can over boring luncheons at the local job search club. Put on a smile and get out there!

November 2005 / December 2005 /


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