I attended a Professional in Transition meeting this week and heard a conversation about Networking thru the Holidays. Here are some of the points that I got from the discussion. I think they are relevant to both job seekers and business developers.
- Don’t stop networking just because everyone else does. If you pause any activity it takes more energy to get back up to speed when you restart. The same thing applies for networking to find that new job or nurturing those business relations. After a month (or so) of holiday slouching or even taking off completely, you’ll find it way more difficult to get back in the swing of things.
- There are less people in your way during the holidays. Most people feel that the holidays are not a good time to network. Of course, generally these are the same people who mistakenly believe that networking is selling or trying to get a job. Stay true to networking for mutual benefit and you’ll discover that the people working thru the holidays will want to meet & talk and those other folks are out of your way.
- Holiday Parties are a great place to meet new people. Don’t ignore that invitation or try to make an excuse why you can’t attend a holiday party. Even the ones you went to last year and did not enjoy. Instead, go and find someone new to meet and talk with. You never know who they know or what opportunities or job openings they may know about.
- Volunteer thru the holidays. Lots of professionals and business owners volunteer thru the holidays. It’s both a great way to give back and to meet new people. Join in on the activity of volunteering and say hello to someone new. Again, you never know who you’ll meet and what or who they may know.
- Discover that you may be better off than you think. Yes, being unemployed can be a challenge both emotionally and financially. Knowing these are real issues is important. However, when you volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc you can find that you are better off than you thought. This is also important to realize. And it can actually make you feel better about yourself as you are helping others.
- Getting involved during the holidays can help overcome loneliness. If you stop networking and just hibernate over the holidays, loneliness can become overwhelming. Continue to get out and network. This can help not just overcome loneliness, but it can also help pick up your spirits.
- Many corporate budgets start January 1. Who knows, maybe that purchase decision has not been made yet. Maybe that position has not been filled yet. Maybe, while you are networking you can find that opportunity and jump in front of those who are waiting until after the holidays. Who knows, it may happen with just a simple hello during the holidays.
So the recommendation is to continue working on building relationships and expanding your circle of contacts thru the holidays. Stay true to Networking for Mutual benefit, which means, don’t call a contact and ask them for a job or try to sell your widget. Just meet people, have a good time getting to know them and build new relationships while you enjoy the holidays. Keep the momentum and good luck on your journey.