One of the worst mistakes job seekers make is to stop looking for work during the holidays. In fact, the holidays are a great time to re-establish ties with networking contacts. The best way to do this is to set a plan: Who do I want to contact? What do I want each person to know about me? What do I want to learn about them? Since many of these contacts will be friends as well as colleagues, it is perfectly acceptable to ask about family and other personal matters.
Keep the contact friendly and loose. Start by wishing your contacts a happy holiday season and ask first about their lives and careers. When you talk about your career goals, don’t be too pushy about asking for direct help unless there is a definite opportunity that a contact can help you with. A better way is to set up a meeting or call just after the New Year. In other cases, your goal is to let your contacts know what is going on in your life and career. That opens the door for them to help.
Don’t waste the holiday season on shopping and parties. Enjoy yourself, but do so in a way that keeps your network pot simmering. With the right contact and a little luck , you could find a new job.
Some clients complain that hiring slows down during the holidays, which is often true. However, this season offers a different opportunity to improve your career management and job search: networking.
When you’re at holiday parties or meeting friends for dinner, let them know what is happening in your career and find out what is happening in their careers. If you’re looking for work, the holidays might be a good time to set up a lunch or coffee meeting. At that meeting, don’t simply ask your contacts to help you find a job. Start this way: “I’m looking for a new job, what advice do you have for me?” Keep the question open and see where your contact takes you. If she suggests you talk to someone, ask if she can make an introduction or if you can use her name in contacting the potential employers.
Remember that it’s the holiday season. Don’t be too pushy. Take advantage of your meetings. If it seems best to wait to meet a contact, set up a meeting after the new year. Keep looking for new ways to push your career and job search forward. Don’t forget to look for ways to help your network partners. Helping each other. That’s the holiday spirit.