It’s the best time to be looking for a job. No, I haven’t lost my mind. We know that more than 85% of all jobs are obtained through networking. We also know that this is a highly social season. Everyone is hosting a party to celebrate their particular holiday. Did you know most non-profits receive most of their funds during this time? This leads us to believe that people are in a giving mood this time of the year. And lastly, because so many people take the holidays off from their job search, there is less competition.
Here are five things you should know to make this holiday season’s networking successful for you.
- Networking isn’t about getting the job. It’s about establishing relationships with people. The people you meet while networking are not the ones that will hire you. Someone they know is the more likely one to hire you. The expression, “it is better to give than receive,” comes to mind. You want to be a genuine giver. Provide your new (and old) contacts with the information they need. When you do this, you get the reputation of being the go to person. While networking in this way, you need patience. Things will not happen overnight. But you are laying foundations and planting seeds that will pay off in the long run. Don’t give up.
- 2. Know how to start conversations. People are not going to events looking for you. They have their own agenda so don’t expect people to come up to you and start conversations. You need to know how to start a conversation with strangers. Before the event, take a look at the news to see what people are talking about today. Some good starters are the weather, the venue and the refreshments, event sponsor/host, local sports teams. But avoid hot topics such as politics and religion. Engaging in a hostile conversation is counter-productive to your goals.
- 3. Follow up. Building a relationship requires contact after the initial conversation. Out of sight out of mind is key here. How you follow up will depend on the people involved. Choices range from an ordinary email all the way to a face-to-face meeting. But remember to continue the relationship after the holidays. In your first follow up, include where you met and a little about your conversation. During the conversation, look for things that interest them or some problem they want solved. Follow up by sending them something pertinent about the conversation whether it’s an article, book or any other information you can share.
- 4. Some tips.
- a. Dress—you don’t want to be remembered for the “outfit” you were wearing. Keep your apparel conservative but festive.
- b. Food—don’t over indulge at any one party. It’s a long season with delicious, tempting food resulting in holiday weight gain you will regret in the New Year.
- c. Alcohol—avoid alcoholandstick to soft drinks or club soda. You reduce your inhibitions and run the risk of not remembering the people you spoke to and what you said you would follow up on.
- d. Business cards and resumes—bring plenty of business cards with you; you don’t want to run out when you meet “the” person. Wait for a request for your resume before sending it out and don’t give it at networking events.
- Final thoughts. Your mindset will go a long way in determining how successful you are during the holiday season. Henry Ford said, “that if you think you can or can’t, your right.” You attract into your life what you believe. If you think you will win, you are much more likely to win. Concentrate on success and it will be yours.
Wrap up all these ideas into a friendly, kind and cheerful package and your network grow. People gravitate toward positive, optimistic people and avoid the desperate, depressed people. The choice is yours. It may take a little effort to overcome the holiday blues, but well worth it. It is a joyous holiday season, with lots to celebrate, focus on what you have, and you will attract more.
Arleen Bradley is a certified career coach and certified job loss recovery coach. She assists clients in moving beyond job loss grief in order to land dream jobs. To learn more about the Job Loss Recovery Program and how you can benefit from it, log on to www.arleenbradley.com.
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