‘Tis the season . . . for job networking. We’ll tell you how to turn ordinary holiday events into full-fledged job networking opportunities.
If you’re unemployed, a tight budget may mean downsizing your holiday celebrations. And to make matters worse, it’s common for HR departments and decision-makers to delay hiring decisions until the first of the year. But before you drown your sorrows in eggnog, there is one bright spot you need to know about during the holidays: Networking.
As people gather from near and far to celebrate the season, savvy job hunters can transform common holiday events into a smorgasbord of career networking occasions. Here’s how to get started . . .
Admittedly, family holiday gatherings aren’t usually considered to be top-tier networking opportunities. But from a networking angle, they have a couple of things going for them. It’s easy to have one-on-one conversations with people who work in a range of fields, possibly from locations around the country. Although Uncle Frank may not be able to offer you an interview, maybe he knows someone who can – especially if he has a solid track record in a field that interests you.
Even though you might not have to attend a company party this year, there’s a good chance you’ll be attending one through your spouse’s employer. The key to networking at company holiday parties is to strike up conversations with other spouses. Chances are they feel just as out of place as you do and it’s easy to strike up chitchat that can eventually lead to a full bore networking conversation.
It would be wrong for us to suggest networking during your kids’ school concerts, but the cookies and punch receptions that are held after school concerts can offer an abundance of networking opportunities. The advantage is that everyone is local and already has something in common – their kids. If you know in advance that a parent of your child’s classmate is a valuable networking target, prepare for the event just like you would any other networking opportunity.
Holiday Shopping Trips
Under the right circumstances, a holiday shopping trip can become an occasion for networking. One possible strategy is to nonchalantly strike up conversations with strangers you meet in line or while you’re sitting on a bench, waiting for your family to finish their purchases. Sound gutsy? It is, but you never know. The person sitting right next to you could be the contact you need to land your next interview.