At this time of year, networking reaches a fever pitch with holiday gatherings at every turn. You will need a few tips on navigating these events when you are job searching. First of all, be aware that it’s a cheery time of year and you need to project a positive attitude as you engage in year end festivities. It’s best to reflect on what happened over the course of the year as if it were an old fashioned travelogue complete with a neutral commentator. Don’t go into long painful explanations about how your boss mistreated you, frankly, no one wants to hear this.
The best thing you can do is come up with an interesting funny or uplifting story to share with people. Sure it’s been a tough year, maybe a roller coaster for your career, but take a look at it with some perspective and come up with a way to make sense of it for yourself, because this will be conveyed to others. Think about how you feel when someone recounts their terrible experiences. Sure you feel empathy for them, but at the end of the story, they appear diminished in some way. Do you want to give off that kind of aura to your listener? If anything, you want to show them how you surmounted impossible odds, terrible adversity and somehow came shining through. That’s the personal brand you want to portray. If nothing else, use humor as a way to soften the harsher elements of your story. Showing that you can laugh at yourself is a clear indicator of emotional intelligence.
When we describe seasonal revelry, the word merrymaking comes to mind. If your story or anecdote doesn’t fit that mode, then perhaps it’s time to take a break and reconsider what message you want to send out. Keep it positive, you want to draw people to you with your personal magnetism and be memorable.
Margo Meyers, author and networking guru, offers some tips:
1. Attend as many events as possible
2. Think about giving-applying that holiday spirit to your networking and offer to help others
3. Research ahead of time the potential contacts who might attend
4. Set a goal: prepare your elevator pitch to demonstrate what you do
5. Know your end result, what you want to accomplish
6. Build relationships: what better time to give your business or career a boost
Whatever you do, don’t stop looking for jobs during the holiday season. You never know who might be hiring. Think of Carl who had been looking for a job for six months. He had a career coach help him revise his resume and got an offer to start a new job December 14th. It happens quickly, especially when employers are trying to spend their 2015 budgets or trying to get new projects off the ground getting a head start on 2016. They move rapidly, so make sure you’re taking advantage of this magical time when people are in a generous frame of mind.