5 Tips for Networking During the Holidays
How to put some jingle into your holiday mingle.
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Giving, receiving, and socializing. To me that describes the holiday season; but interestingly, it also describes networking. For me, the holiday time is a time to slow down, reconnect, and add a bit of jingle to my mingling skills!
5 Tips for Holiday Networking
In this two-part episode I’ll cover my top ten tips for beefing up your networking during the holiday season. Currently employed or not, don’t miss unique holiday opportunities for networking.
Depending on your industry, you could run into holiday slow-downs or absolute year-end chaos. If you are job hunting; that’s good news. With less support staff in the office, it means you’re more likely to have your phone call picked up directly by a manager. And even if they are not hiring at the moment because of the holidays, they are more likely grant informational interviews.
Even businesses facing their year-end chaos are a good bet. Although they are less likely to accommodate informational interviews, they may actually be more open to real interviews. Savvy managers want to fill their 2011 budgeted positions as soon as possible and may begin the process over the holidays so that new hires can start early in January.
Tip #1: Send Creative Holiday Cards To Connect with Your Network
Whether you are job hunting or not, the holiday season provides an opportunity stay in touch with your entire network. Like many professionals, I like to take advantage of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years with a “1,2,3 punch” card sending strategy. (What’s that you say? You missed your Thanksgiving opportunity? Don’t worry, you can start now and end with Valentines Day.) The idea is to develop a creative three-part message that arrives in three installments (like you sometimes see done with billboards).
Make your cards brief, festive, upbeat, fun (something you would show to a friend), and maybe even a bit mysterious. If you’re job hunting you can add a P.S. “By the way I’m looking for xyz position.” You could also include a web address to LinkedIn or an online career summary, or better yet, a link to your website and blog.
Tip #2: Target Specific People to Expand Your Professional Network
Someone once told me, “If you want to make a million dollars, hang out with millionaires!” I like to use holiday time as a reminder to think about which VIPs (very influential people) I’d like to target in the coming year. Although I do know one or two millionaires, for me, I enjoy collaborating with smart, motivated professionals. It’s inspiring and I usually learn a great deal.
So each year at holiday time, I use Twitter Search, Google Blogs, and LinkedIn to find VIPs whom I would like to add to my network. I try to target 3 or 4 successful people who I admire. I send a holiday greeting to break the ice and start a conversation. Then I look back at my list from previous years see how I am doing with my relationship building. My goal is to continue to move forward towards stronger relationships--and the holidays are always are a good excuse to reconnect with everyone in your network.