The holiday season can be an excellent time to relax, but if you’re out of work, it is also the perfect time to kick your job hunt into high gear. Employers tend to do a lot of hiring at the beginning of the year, so putting on your game face now can put you on the shortlist for a January interview. In addition, the holidays are a traditional time of socializing, making it easy to reach out to old contacts without feeling awkward. The 2020 holiday season may be different due to the COVID pandemic, but many of the basics still apply.
They might be on Zoom this year, but many traditional organization-based events will still happen in some form. Reconnect with your alumni association. Attend a fundraiser for your favorite charity. Find a get together for people in your industry. The goal is to meet people who can help you take the next steps in your career.
Don’t Overlook the Family
During the holidays, you have an excellent chance to shore up the loose ties within your extended family. You can chat with your parents’ friends or your uncle’s girlfriend without anyone thinking you’re pushy. Everyone reaches out to others during the holidays, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Host Your Own Event
Not quite seeing the perfect networking opportunity or hoping to do a little bit more? Create your own event. Especially in the pandemic world, people are looking for creative and interesting things to do safely. Set up an online Secret Santa gift exchange. Host a masked and socially-distanced ornament painting party in your backyard or other outdoor location. Invite people who don’t necessarily know each other to participate, and send out short bios in advance to serve as conversation starters.
You don’t want to be the bore droning on about work while everyone else is celebrating, so come up with some fun holiday-focused ways to start a conversation. Ask someone about their favorite holiday movie or the craziest gift they ever received. Be interesting and festive, and you can make connections now that you can solidify after the holidays.
Postal mail is so rare these days that it was a great way to get noticed even before the pandemic. In the COVID world, many people are reluctant to attend even socially-distanced events. But this doesn’t mean you can’t reach out. Pick out holiday cards that seem to fit their recipients, and add a handwritten message. Send them out to people you used to work with and friends who have largely fallen off the radar.
There are no guarantees with any type of networking, but the holidays are a traditional time for people to come together. Combined with the fact that many employers go on hiring blitzes shortly after New Year’s, this can be the perfect time to up your networking game.
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