17 Dec Contrary to popular belief, holidays are an important time to network
During the holiday season (from Thanksgiving to New Year’s), it’s common for people to take a break from their networking activities. Understandably, people become busy with family and feel an end-of-the-year crunch with their work.
Contrary to popular belief, the holiday season is a great time to network because of holiday parties, holiday cards and companies still in hiring mode.
In the month of December, companies and networking groups generally hold holiday events. The purpose of these events is to allow attendees or employees to unwind at the end of year, be social and have fun.
Take advantage of these opportunities because you can get to know people in a more casual environment. At the same time, these are the majority of the networking events this time of the year, so make an effort to attend.
If your firm is having its annual holiday party, it’s a good idea to attend because you will get to know your co-workers out of the office. Networking with co-workers is important because you never know when these relationships will be helpful for your career within and outside your firm.
Remember that these events are still an important piece to your personal branding. Do not misrepresent yourself by drinking too much or acting very different than you do during the work day. You want people to perceive you as a professional and someone who can act that way in social gatherings.
Do not assume that people are too busy to attend these events. Not everyone will be tied down by work or family obligations and you will be able to meet people. A good example of an annual holiday event was the Illinois technology forecast and holiday party put on by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago, which took place on Wednesday night.
A great way to connect with your network is to send holiday greeting cards. If you haven’t spoken to someone in a while, this is a good way to reconnect.
When you prepare these cards, be sure to make it personal by writing a note. If you just send a standard greeting card with your signature, it won’t stand out as much. While the gesture will still be worthwhile, it’s not as memorable and personable.
It’s beneficial to send these cards to your clients, too. While these greetings may be more standard than personal, it still shows that you are thinking about your clients. In addition, if your firm has any special announcements, this information could be included with this card.
If you’re looking for a job, send holiday cards to hiring managers whom you have recently spoken to about a job. Do whatever you can to make yourself stand above the pack.
One good way to make yourself more professional is to create personal note cards with your name that you can send to people during the holidays and beyond. By creating these cards, you will enhance your branding and people will take you more seriously. These cards are great for thanking people after job interviews as well.
The common misconception is that looking for a job during the holidays is a waste of time. In reality, companies are still looking to fill positions for the upcoming year.
While some companies may not hire in December or early January, they will want to have a pool of candidates ready for when it’s time to make offers. Also, some companies may have their budgets allocated for a new hire for the next year and they will want to interview in December so the new person can start in January.
Don’t take a break from job searching during this time of the year. In fact, people will have more time to talk with you about opportunities because many of their co-workers will be on vacation. As a result, they will have fewer meetings, client interactions or other demands on their time.
Also, keep in mind that you may experience reduced competition for jobs because many people will take a break from their search. Knowing this fact can put you ahead of the competition. You need to take your job search seriously. Don’t slow down during any month. Make sure to continuously network and schedule appointments to meet with people.
Because employment decisions can happen quickly, you should make it a priority to contact your network to learn about opportunities and companies and to get referrals or leads. The best way to find a job is through a referral. This strengthens the idea that building a quality network is important.
Remember that networking is an important component in the business world and you shouldn’t slow down during any time of the year. Take the holiday season seriously by attending holiday events, sending holiday cards or continuing your job search.
Jason Jacobsohn currently serves as the president of the DePaul Entrepreneurs Association (DEA) and sits on the board of the DePaul Business & Technology Alumni Network. He also operates his own business and networking resources Web site at Jacobsohn.com.
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