After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Networking

If you are in the midst of a challenging job search, it may be tempting to regard the holiday season as a welcome break from your efforts and your anxiety – a time to relax, eat leftover pecan pie, and watch old movies on TV. After all, everyone knows no one is hiring over the holidays anyway.

Humbug to that.

I can assure you that companies hire 12 months a year, come hell or high water or Thanksgiving.  If a vital employee resigns, is terminated, moves away, retires or dies, the effort to replace that employee does not wait until after the management person has fully recovered from her New Year’s festivities; it begins now.  If you are on a networking hiatus when the recruiting mission begins, you might miss a great opportunity.

Instead of regarding the holiday season as a time of imposed inactivity, try looking at the season as one of increased opportunities for personal networking.

·       What might have been an awkward “tell-all” networking phone call to a former colleague or associate can now wear the cheerful garb of a holiday greeting.

·       Your former employer, your college alumni association, your professional association may invite you to holiday cocktail parties and/or dinner events.  These events may not be as fun as watching Christmas with the Kranks again – but what better chance will you have to tell a group of interconnected professionals about your job status?

·       Additionally, your family, friends, church, and neighbors may host holiday events – look at these as another chance to put your face and your story out there.  Uncle Joe’s friend Jane may work at your target company and be able to provide you an intro.

·       Ask an old friend to lunch.  Even if it’s someone you don’t ordinarily socialize with, people tend to touch base with old friends around the holidays, so you won’t feel too odd extending the invitation.

Becoming reclusive and lethargic for the six weeks of the holiday season will not only darken your mood and sap the joy from the season; it may be a waste of valuable opportunities to network yourself into a new job just in time for the new year.

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