Lessons Learned: How to Network During the Holidays

Recently, Rachel Frint from the NYU Wasserman Center @ SCPS hosted a webinar on how to network during the holidays.  In case you missed it, here are some tips for how to build your network during the holiday season.

Job Seekers

If you are searching for a new job, there is no need to slow down your search during the holidays.  While some companies may slow their hiring during this time of year, not all of them do!  Some companies may hire seasonal employees, or they may be getting ready to post new opportunities at the beginning of the New Year.

Holiday Parties & Gatherings

Even though it is a busy time of year, try to make some effort to attend holiday events.  Networking around the holidays is often more informal, so a formal, professional pitch may not be appropriate at these events.  Avoid the “hard sell” during these events.  Also remember to exude the holiday spirit and be positive and happy in your conversations.  Don’t let any negative energy or anxiety about your job search influence your conversations.

Company Holiday Party

Attending your company’s holiday gathering is a great way to network with your colleagues and increase your internal visibility.  Make an effort to talk to people who you don’t know well or who you would like to work with more.  Be an active listener, ask good questions, and be present in your conversations with colleagues.

Family Gatherings

Don’t discount family members just because they don’t work in the exact field you want to get into; they may be able to connect you with people.  Talk about your skills and career goals with your family and ask for specific, reasonable requests.  Don’t ask them to help you get a job, but instead ask for an introduction, advice on your job or internship search, or advice on your resume.

Friend’s Party

These settings tend to be very casual, but you can still approach them strategically.  Instead of bouncing around talking to as many people as possible, focus more on building strong, lasting connections, or even rekindling connections with people you haven’t see in a while.  You can bring your business card with you, but leave your resume at home.

Home for the Holidays

If you are going home for the holidays, consider building connections with people in your hometown.  Schedule some meetings to re-kindle your relationship with some of your friends or former colleagues.  Do some research and find NYU alumni based in your hometown and schedule an informational interview.

Holiday Networking Follow Up

The holiday season is a good excuse to reach out to contacts you haven’t spoken to in a while.  Send a personalized “Happy Holidays” or “Happy New Year” email message to your professional contacts.

For anyone you meet over the holidays, be sure to send a follow up email right away, but save the job seeking conversation until after the New Year.  Also, remember to check in with your contacts a few months later so that you stay top of mind.

Meet with a Wasserman Career Counselor to discuss your specific strategy for networking during the holidays.

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