Love it or dread it, the holiday season is upon us. In addition to holiday-themed potlucks and Ugly Sweater Christmas parties, now is the time to get a head start on a job search. If you’re in the market for a new role, plan to attend this year’s holiday festivities with a dual purpose: eggnog and purposeful networking.
Not so fast! Studies reveal that January is one of the worst months to search for a job, due to the surge of job-seekers trying to fulfill New Year’s resolutions. February and March are earlier times in the year in which the number of new jobs exceeds the yearly average. With that, the holiday season is the perfect time to plant seeds that will prove themselves to be fruitful in your job search next quarter.
Here’s the who, what and where to network during this holiday season:
Who: ‘Tis the season for face time
Holiday gatherings bring groups of people together who may not rub shoulders otherwise. Use this to your advantage. When attending events, plan to introduce yourself to as many new people as you can. If you were invited by the host, ask him/her to make warm introductions.
Instead of making the empty promise of catching up in the new year, ask a new connection if he/she is free for coffee within the next seven days. This time of year is great to connect in person before your calendars — and calendars of those in your network — are filled with travel plans, required trainings and competing deadlines that will come in the new year.
Use in-person meetings to:
- Build genuine connections outside of what you have in common on paper. At most holiday events, attendees are more relaxed. This is the perfect time to find a way to connect outside of corporate titles.
- Share and find out about upcoming industry-related events.
- Ask how you can be a resource to the other person…and follow through.
What: Send holiday e-cards to your network
If you haven’t checked in with your existing network throughout the year, the holiday season is a great time to do so. This simple gesture can help transform the dynamic of a professional relationship. For example, sending a holiday greeting can take you from being known by your title or job to being known by your name. Remember, people hire people, not resumes or job titles. You can send free e-cards, a quick note on LinkedIn or an email.
In your message:
- Open with a warm, appropriate greeting. Be sure that you’re aware and respectful of those who don’t celebrate certain holidays.
- Acknowledge a recent promotion or accomplishment or comment on a relevant industry topic. Even better, follow up on a specific topic that the two of you have previously discussed.
- Provide a brief update of what you’re involved in as well as upcoming events or projects.
- Don’t mention that you’re in the market for a new role or inquire about a position at his/her company.
Whether you send an email, e-card or quick note, it should be short, sweet and genuine.
Where: Holiday happenings in Charlotte
Now that you’re ready to expand your network as you prepare to secure a new role in 2019, it’s time to get out there and meet people.
Check out the events calendar for holiday happenings in and around the Queen City.
Nakisha Washington is a style contributor who mixes prints and professionals. She’s a millennial development coach, content creator and lover of all things stylish!