Everyone knows that the holidays are a busy time of year full of days off, travel, and year-end deadlines. But when you’re searching for a job, you can’t use the holidays as an excuse to back off your business connections, as your professional network can prove very valuable during your hunt. Here are some ways to network during the holiday season and stay on your connections’ radar:
Let the follow up land on you while networking
If you reach out to someone and don’t hear from them, don’t just assume that they’re ignoring your request. The burden is on you to follow up. This person could have been on vacation, traveling, or drowning in paperwork as they get ready to take a few days off next week. If you just send one e-mail, hear nothing, and move on, you’re not doing all you can to form a strong connection with that individual. Instead, wait a respectful amount of time (a week or 10 days usually) and then check in again. Never be rude or pushy, but understand that this time of year is hectic and you may need to put in more effort to stay on someone’s radar.
Be clear about what it is that you want
You write a great networking e-mail, but finish it up without really letting your contact know what it is that you’re looking for. If this is the case, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t feel embarrassed about making your needs or desires clear. Especially when people are pressed for time during the holidays, they’re not going to spend hours searching for the hidden meaning in your messages. If you’re hoping that they’ll introduce you to someone or put in a good word at a company, state this. Don’t wait for them to read between the lines on their own.
Don’t just drop in when you need something
No one likes to feel used. If you’re only checking in on your contacts when you need something, you’re doing it wrong. The holiday season is the perfect time to reach out to your network when you don’t need anything at all. Send them your well wishes, see how their family is doing, and keep that relationship strong without asking for anything in return. This is the best way to forge a genuine connection with professionals in your industry.
It’s also important to keep in mind that many companies are utilizing technology such as video interviews to connect with talent even with busy work or travel schedules. Should your network connection help with arranging such an opportunity, it would be wise to prepare for the possibility of being invited to a video interview.
What are you doing to maintain your network during the crazed holiday season? Let us know in the comments!