This post was first published over on SmartBrief’s Social Media blog where I am a regular contributor. They happen to be pretty awesome with over 4 million email subscribers. Be sure to check them out.
We are just 9 short days away from the Christmas holiday which is rather inconvenient if you are looking for a job. Between now and New Years lay before us the opportunity to build relationships and grow our network all while sharing a little eggnog and holiday joy. But a reality looms beneath the holiday cheer. Directly proceeding the busy holiday season is January, the month when employees are most likely to exit their workplace and lose their jobs. Whether it’s of their own devices or as a result of a corporate downsize, January is the month employers and employers are most likely to part ways.
The Holidays and Career Networking
No matter who you are or where you work, you are never safe in your job search. And networking both offline and online is the key to a successful career and future. Sixty-five to eight-five percent of all jobs are found as a result of networking. It’s never too early to start or too late, and holiday parties should be no exception. Social media in 2011 has been an extremely popular compliment to a job seeker’s strategy. According to Jobvite’s social media study 36.6 job seekers used social media as part of their job search strategy in 2011. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or your blog social media can provide an effective way to further strengthen these in person relationships while also sharing your expertise and building your personal brand. Through the use of social media networking and follow-up with potential employers you meet at holiday parties, you can take advantage of new opportunities to broaden your network and your job search during the holidays. Either separately or in combination, these five networking tips can make your holiday party connections stronger into the New Year and help you find that job you are looking for:
Send Holiday E cards.
- Send out free Internet Holiday cards to your network. Hallmark.com has a large variety of interesting and work appropriate cards to engage your network at no cost to the send or receiver. Not every decision maker or business professional uses or responds best when it comes to social media. Diversity your channels and strategies when it comes to creating contacts utilizing non-based social media based and more traditional communication means like correspondence.
Use Your Blog.
- Use your blog to interview your top client prospects or companies as a way to develop a truly unique relationship that makes way for referrals, business, and new friendships. Most everyone likes to see their names in print or media. Take advantage of the unique opportunity you offer as a blogger and form of new media. Use your blog to build relationships and open doors.
Host a Holiday Open House.
- Either at work or at your home virtual or in person. Clients, friends, and colleagues can visit and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, wine, or sparkling cider while building new relationships or catching up with old friends. Looking to host a virtual cocktail party? Consider using Google Hangout or host an online network using a Blog Talk Radio channel or FreeConferenceCall.com.
Network on the Holiday Party Scene.
- Make the rounds to all the holiday events and bring a stack of business cards. Never miss an opportunity to make a lasting impression. No, business cards? Follow up with a nice personal note via LinkedIn or Facebook to help solidify the personal connection. Take the conversation even further by adding value to your newfound network through online introductions establishing value for later when its time for you to ask for something in return.
Go Old School.
- Take part in the traditional method of distributing holiday cards using snail mail. Select marketing materials to make a lasting impression. Drop by personalized and homemade holiday gifts to your network. Mix your favorite blend of coffees and package in a custom bag with label. Don’t forget to include your contact information and business card. Schedule and afternoon or two to make the rounds.
Bottom line. Get out there and get moving. The biggest mistake I see in the job search and in business is people waiting for the opportunities to come to them instead of taking the bull by the horns. Regardless of the season, holidays or not, professionals should never stop networking especially considering that the average time in position is a mere 18 months. Social media should serve as a compliment to your aggressive in person relationship building strategy providing you access to decision makers, hiring managers, and key players at the organizations where you wish to work. Holiday parties give you the chance to get to meet them and social media gives you the opportunity to keep them in your networks.