I walked across campus today through a snow storm, enjoying the winter scene as I try to embrace the holiday season (note, by mid-January, I would be fine if all the snow disappeared, but for now I enjoy the winter majesty). This scene made me think of the holiday parties that are upcoming and how one could use this time to better their career aspirations.
December is a slow month for hiring – end of a fiscal year for many, end of a quarter for others – and adding staff is usually not high on companies’ Christmas lists. So the focus of this month should be on networking, and holiday parties provide numerous opportunities to re-establish connections and forge new ones. However, networking a holiday parties should be handled delicately.
- Holiday parties are social events – respect the intended nature of the gathering and do not use the event to ask friends about job leads or referrals, nor share with them the war stories of looking for work in this economy.
- At the party, get the other person talking. Many times individuals will share information of what is going on at work…use a follow-up meeting as a way to bring solutions to problems or ideas to existing needs – don’t try to solve them at the party as the conversation will get too heavy and will be inappropriate for the intended purpose.
- Lay the groundwork for future follow-up. After a good conversation with someone at a holiday party, follow-up a few days later to suggest grabbing a cup of coffee or lunch where you could discuss career related topics.
- Watch yourself! Be sure not to over-indulge in libations or get caught up in some crazy antics. As one employer told me, “No one wants to hire the person wearing the lampshade.”
The holiday season may not generate the job offers you are after, but the holiday season does offer opportunities to further your career search and management efforts.