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Networking Tips for the Holidays

 

Revisit your Contact List

• Send Christmas cards – include all your networking contacts and even the people with whom you have previously interviewed.

• Make the cards simple with a generic message.

• Call or e-mail contacts to wish them a happy holiday.

• Include a note of your appreciation of their past help.

 

Widen your Network

• Who would you like to meet before the end of the year? Call your network to see if they know this person and would introduce you.

 Attend Holiday Parties and Professional Association Meetings

• Try to go to as many as possible – church, spouse's office party, other organizations, etc.

• Network by asking probing questions about their work and themselves – don't go around begging for a job.

• Typically, the December meetings of professional organizations are widely attended and it is the perfect opportunity to meet employed people in your field and / or industry.

 

Let People Know that you are Looking for Work (unless your search is confidential)

• Be positive and optimistic in your approach – people will be more inclined to refer you to their contacts.

• Don't be overly aggressive. Remember you are attending parties – keep it light. Do more listening than talking.

• Talk to strangers – don't just visit with the people you know.

 Dress Conservatively

• Imagine that you may meet a potential boss at each event – don't wear anything revealing or questionable.

 

Always Carry Business Cards

• Business cards serve as reminders of who you are.

• Be sure to have cards that include your full contact information (phone, email address and, possibly address) and a header (e.g. sales & marketing, business finance, etc.).

• Best sources include www.vistaprint.com and Office Depot or other local office supply stores.

 

Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up

• Always send thank you notes to those who give you advice or referrals.

• Ask to stay in contact and make notes as to when to follow-up with the person again.

• See what you can do for your contact – they will appreciate the offer.

 

Watch the Alcohol

• You need to be your sharpest.

• You want to be remembered as a potential employee.

 

Keep your Holiday Schedule Open

• November and December are hectic months – be flexible with your time – potential employees remember the people that work with their busy schedules.

• Avoid taking long trips. If all the other candidates are out of town, it is more likely that you will secure an interview.

 

Avoid the Holiday Blahs

• The holidays can be depressing for people – especially if you are out of work – it is important to keep your spirits high.

• Create a schedule in which you can accomplish something towards your search everyday.

• Help others – not only will the volunteer efforts make you feel better, it can also become a networking opportunity.

• Consult a professional if you cannot shake your depression or if it gets worse.

 

This information was presented November 9, 2004 at Custer Road United Methodist Church, Career Outreach, by Loraine Grubbs, Senior Career Consultant with The Katharos Group. For more information on CRUMC Career Outreach, please visit www.crumc-jobs.org.