Holiday Networking Tips for Job Seekers
As the year-end approaches, business tends to move at a slower pace. Hiring may slow down as managers focus on budgets, forecasts and planning for the new year. Many people take time off for holiday travel. This may lead some to pause their job search until January.
Taking a break during the holiday season, however, is the last thing you should do if you’re looking for a new career opportunity. Most professional and networking organizations host monthly meetings in November and December as well as holiday gatherings. These events are ideal opportunities to meet other professionals and expand your business network. Many of the people at these gatherings will be involved in departmental budgets and hiring plans for the new year. Follow these networking tips for a successful holiday job search!
- Be strategic. Conduct a search for networking events you can attend that will maximize your opportunities to meet other networked professionals in your field. Many organizations allow non-members to attend their events. Register for events in advance and put them on your calendar.
- Be prepared and dress appropriately. If you have access to a member list, identify which people you’d like to meet at the event and do some research on their careers and companies. Be ready to introduce yourself and quickly describe what you do and what your next opportunity might look like. Find out what the expected dress for the event is and wear the appropriate attire, even if that means a change of clothes after work.
- Be a good listener. Other than briefly introducing yourself and your background, your goal should be to listen and learn as much as possible about the people you meet, contacts you may have in common and people they know at companies that may be hiring someone with your skills.
- Offer to help. Express an interest in the success of people you talk to, and if possible, offer to share your network or other information that will help them in their roles.
- Seek quality over quantity. Making a few beneficial connections is better than introducing yourself to everyone in the room. Passing out business cards is not networking; it’s better to have productive conversations with a few people who will remember you (and your skillset) favorably.
- Follow up! Once you’ve established a connection with someone who you’d like to stay in touch with, follow up with an email, an invitation on LinkedIn or both.
- Don’t drink too much. Keep the focus on networking to make the best impression. My advice is to limit yourself to one drink at an event and eat beforehand, so you don’t miss a chance for conversation or a hand shake.
- Don’t spend time with friends. Since you can talk to co-workers and friends at any time, use the majority of your time to make new contacts.
- Don’t over-share. If you’ve researched someone’s profile on LinkedIn, use that information to ask pertinent questions, but take care not to be perceived as a stalker. And keep conversations focused on professional, rather than personal, topics.
- Don’t monopolize someone’s time. If you meet someone you’d like to get to know better, ask if you can follow up with them another time. Exchange contact information and move on.
- Don’t ask for a job. Networking events are about making connections, not asking for favors. Once you’ve established a relationship with someone online or in person, it’s appropriate to ask them if they’re hiring or know someone who is hiring.
- Don’t overstay your welcome. Most invitations have defined start and end times. Do not arrive before the scheduled start and leave before it ends.
If you’ve done a good job of networking over the holiday season, you’ll have plenty of people to follow up with in January, when companies begin posting jobs.
Are you seeking a contract or full-time position? BravoTECH recruiters can accelerate your search. Take a look at our current job openings at job.bravotech.com or call us at 800-762-7286.