It is inevitable. Over the next month and until January 1st you will find yourself at numerous events where you can and should be networking. And yes, that includes gatherings with family and friends as well as those corporate holiday events.
Many jobs are never posted or posted only after an individual who has networked their way in has solidified his/her place as the candidate to beat. Don’t let that happen to you. You have to socialize anyway – you might as well make it productive towards your career goals and aspirations. That simple conversation with Uncle so-and-so’s second cousin may get you the inside track to your next opportunity.
Referrals are the key to get your application noticed and get you in the door for an interview. So as you go to these events, network.
Before you go to any event, make sure you have your pitch down cold. “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?” are inevitable questions when meeting new people or catching up with old acquaintances. Be ready to answer with confidence and include what your vision for growth is… they may know a place.
Don’t be obnoxious, but have an “ask” in mind. Even if that ask is – hey, let me send you an invite to LinkedIn as you pull out your smartphone. Another possible ask might be for coffee to exchange ideas or catch up.
Beyond your family events and your business’ holiday party, look for local Meetup groups or trade organization events you can attend. December events for these groups tend to be more informal and an even better opportunity to network and connect.
And finally, take the slower holiday season to reconnect with your network. Drop an email, note, call or even a text to people you have lapsed with. “Happy Holidays and what are you up to?” is a great opening for the savvy networker.
And don’t forget the holiday cheer as you network – keep your mood up and positive and you’re sure to see that networking pay off in 2015.