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7 networking tips for the holidays

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Contrary to what you may think, December is a great time to look for work. Many companies are anxious to spend budget dollars they might lose in the New Year. And because many people put the brakes on their job search during the holidays, the competition for openings tends to dwindle. What better time to rev up that job search. Not to mention, networking opportunities abound this time of year with lots of social events happening.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your networking efforts during the holidays:

1. Get social. This is particularly important if you are in between jobs. Attending holiday parties is a great way to make connections and catch up with old friends who may be able to help you.
2. Participate in holiday charity events. Volunteering is a great way to focus your attention on others who really need your help. Get the focus off of you, while serving a holiday meal or wrapping gifts for a children’s charity. It always feels good to give back to those less fortunate.
3. Acknowledge those you respect and admire. ‘Like’ a colleague’s Facebook status update or ‘1+’ their Google+ posts. Write an unsolicited recommendation for someone you admire on LinkedIn. This is one of the best holiday gifts you can give to a colleague.
4. Reconnect with old friends. Reach out to friends you haven’t seen in a while and make those lunch dates happen. This is a great opportunity to learn what they have been up to and possibly share some new networking ideas.
5. Network at holiday events. Focus on quality versus quantity. Plan in advance and make a goal of meeting at least three people. Conversations should be focused on their interests, careers etc. and not about you and your job search. The goal here is to establish a trusting relationship so that you can contact them later. It is perfectly ok to pass out your business cards.
6. Send holiday cards. Sending holiday greetings is a great way to reestablish connections with those you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. It will help pave the way for more ‘career related’ discussions in the New Year.
7. Keep your job search momentum going. Bust the myth that companies don’t hire in December. Keep tapping that hidden job market whenever you can by involving yourself in social gatherings.

Networking during the Holiday Season can be a lot of fun and less stressful because people are more focused on family and giving which takes the focus off of you. It may just lead to the right opportunity to talk casually about ‘what you do’. Happy Holidays! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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