Timebound Workplace

How to Use the Holiday Season to Network for Jobs

December can be one of the best times to network and look for your next opportunity for several reasons:

  1. Less people are looking for their next opportunity because they assume it’s not a good time to do so.
  2. People tend to be in a better frame of mind.
  3. There are many social gatherings that can be used as networking opportunities.
  4. It’s a great time to follow-up by sending a holiday card or email.

I put together a short email to my business and personal contacts, extending my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season. I also mentioned a bit about myself but nothing too pushy.

You will each probably find out about many upcoming holiday parties coming up. Go out and have fun and casually mention that you are looking for a new role. You should also do the same electronically via connecting with your network for the holidays.

Many professional associations have holiday parties between Thanksgiving and New Years Day and some companies may have holiday parties for their employees’ families. Utilize your places of worship and volunteer organization networks, as there are many opportunities to help those who are in need and it’s a potentially great chance to meet other folks helping out, as well as those in temporary or long term need of help themselves.

Networking during the holidays means laying the groundwork now for the positions that open up after the New Year, when the new budget goes into effect. An effective job hunt begins BEFORE the jobs are posted, so you can do an end run around the competition, and get in front of the hiring managers, recruiters, etc., before everyone else.

Break out the business cards, folks, and be prepared to spread good holiday cheer!

There is almost no time that is “off limits” for networking, but it also a light time of year. It’s festive. Contact people you know from other jobs, family and friends you might not have talked to in a while, however, don’t bombard them with “I’m looking for a job” right away. People will ask what you’re doing these days and you can say “looking for a job” and take it from there. If you feel like they’re interested, ask if they’d like to get coffee or lunch. Don’t make obvious networking your goal if you can help it.

You might also consider taking a part-time seasonal job, meet more people, pick up some extra cash. You might like it and stay on while looking for something more up your alley. Reach out to agencies and recruiters, you never know what you’ll hear back from them.

Continue with LinkedIn networking…this is a great time to revisit some of your network connections that you have not connected with in a while.

In all cases, look to see how you may be able to help someone else that you meet or reconnect with first, and don’t look for a job lead right at the beginning.. One of the overlooked aspects of job networking during this holiday period is that many companies have to fill a “hiring ticket” for a position before year end, sometimes in a “use it or lose it” mode. Therefore networking during this period can be very productive.

Above all – be authentic, warm and genuine. Be yourself! Offer to help the people you’re networking with without expectation of return. Make sure you follow up with the people you meet and stay in touch periodically.

Hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season!

By Kenneth Lang

Kenneth Lang is a social media analyst who has worked with job seekers and small business owners on how to best maximize using LinkedIn for specific goals. He’s worked for large and small companies, most recently as Online Project Management Support for The New York Times in New York City on the International version of the newspaper – The International Herald Tribune. 

Kenneth is co-founder of Steps To Success which offers individual and group LinkedIn sessions for business owners.