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How to effectively network during the holiday season

During the holiday season it can be hard to focus on your career transition and goals. You’d be surprised at how much you can utilize this time to really network yourself. Here are some networking tips for you to use during this holiday season. Keep these in mind when you’re at holiday parties, shopping, spending time with your friends and family, etc. We all connect with people more throughout the holidays. This can be a great opportunity for you to really progress on your career path.

Don’t take for granted that people understand what you do.

You told your cousins that you work as an account manager… and to think all these years they assumed you did people’s taxes for a living! If you’ve been keeping your professional life under wraps for too long, it’s time to update people on what you do. Find ways to work your job into conversations. Send out a group email with a virtual business card and a little note explaining that you’d like to reach out and perform some professional networking. It may feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but keep at it, soon both you and your pals will get used to this new style of communication.

Be opportunistic, but don’t push your luck.

There is a fine line between keeping family/friends updated on your professional endeavors, and being downright pushy. We’re talking about your friends here, so you want to tread carefully in this area. For example, if you sell jewelry and have a couple of aunts whom you think might be interested in attending your next event, bring it up to them in a friendly way. But if they seem the least bit uneasy, do NOT push the issue. Sometimes it’s not worth trying to turn a friendship into a professional relationship, and vice versa.

Carry your card on you at all times.

I hear this one all the time: people don’t want to take up a ton of their friends’ or family’s time discussing work. This is where the business card comes in handy. When people ask what you’ve been up to, segue into a brief chat about your job, and then slip them the card “just in case they know anybody.” As the famous song goes, “it’s a small world after all.” Even if the next door neighbor has no use for your hand-blown glass figurines, she may have a brother whose wife owns an art gallery… and hey, you never know. Be optimistic.

Seek out the older, wiser, and more experienced.

Holidays present a great opportunity to connect with the older generation who just might be seasoned professionals in your field. Before your next family gathering, do your homework. Ask your parents what their brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles do for a living. Pose the same question to your best friends. When you get to the party, be prepared to ask questions of those who’ve “been there done that” in your industry… and get ready to make some career connections while learning something new.

If you’re interested in getting more help for your career transition over the holiday season be sure to contact us for a complimentary consultation.

Hallie Crawford
Career Transition Coach