4 Ways to Network This Holiday Season
December 01, 2011 by Careerminds
Between shopping for gifts, baking cookies, stringing lights, and attending parties, the holidays can be an extremely busy (not to mention stressful!) time of year. However, as you make your to-do list this holiday season, don’t forget one very important task – networking.
Despite being the busiest time of year, the holidays are a perfect time to build and connect with your network. Here are four things you can do to build your network this season (and still have time for baking and shopping, of course!):
- Attend professional events: During the holidays, many organizations throw holiday parties or mixers. These events are typically more laid back than a typical meeting, giving you the perfect opportunity to talk and meet with individuals. Look to professional associations, chambers of commerce, and civic organizations in your area which often hold these types of events. In addition, check out sites like meetup.com to find out what events are going on in your area.
- Send holiday cards: What better way to reach out to your current network than sending them a quick holiday card? Chose something simple and non-religious, and write a short note inside. It’s inexpensive (I bought a 16-pack of cards this weekend at Target for $1.00), and a great way to reconnect with your network. You can even send online greeting cards via email if you prefer.
- Volunteer with a nonprofit: There are numerous opportunities to volunteer, especially during the holidays. Reach out to your favorite local nonprofit to see if and how they could use your help. If you like to plan events, offer to help them plan their holiday party. If you like design, offer to help them create promotional materials. If you like to write, offer to write text for a brochure or blog post about the event. In addition to using this experience on your resume, you’re also able to connect with the organization’s board of directors. Those individuals likely work in many different industries and know many different people, which may help you in your career.
- Host your own holiday party (or attend a friend’s): Invite family, friends, colleagues, clients – anyone and everyone you’d like to spend an evening with! Research shows that almost 60 percent of jobs are found through networking, which is easy to do with people you already have relationships with. Parties and holiday gatherings are a great time to connect with others about jobs and career experiences.
No matter what you do or where you go, be sure you’re always ready to network! Bring along business cards and resumes, and prepare your “elevator pitch.” Finally, spread some holiday cheer anywhere you go – everyone loves a happy face during the holidays!
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