A few years ago, right around this time of year, I gave you a list of 3 great reasons you shouldn’t put your job search on hold until the new year. I considered simply recycling that post and calling it a day, but despite my lingering tryptophan hangover, I’m going to yell at you in new and original ways!
I remain steadfast in my resolve that the holidays (well, the North American holidays, anyway) are, hands-down, the best time of the year for professional networking. Because ultimately, networking is connecting with our fellow humans and building relationships. Save your excuses about introversion for another time! I don’t care how socially awkward you are, or how busy you are playing Fallout 4 – we all need relationships to survive.
The month of December is about relationships and big plans, so take advantage of it! Whether you’re looking for a job, consulting gigs, or a new client engagement, now is the time to talk with your prospects and market yourself effectively.
Pragmatic reasons to network your jingle bells off:
- Perfect timing to carpe the optimism and bend the ear of your target while they’re dreaming big about their 2016 successes. Paint a picture of how you’ll help them achieve those goals.
- Fiscal years and calendar years are often one and the same. Budgets for 2016 are being finalized, so this is a great time to learn about and shape what a company has up its sleeves for the coming year.
- Contingent workforces abound! Be part of one. Sew the seeds for a longer-term relationship – as employee or consultant. (Okay, okay, we’re a little late in the year for this one, but it’s still worth mentioning, darn it!)
- Parties out the wazoo. From company celebrations to friendly gatherings to community service events, there are abundant opportunities to connect. And even better, many of these opportunities for connecting are centered around our common interests, values and affiliations – so the relationships we forge in these settings will feel more effortless and substantive. It is way easier to do this sort of shmoozing now than in the middle of March.
- Your competition is asleep. The little voice in your head telling you to phone it in until January? Almost everyone else has it, too. If you ignore the voice and remain focused on your goals for the home stretch of 2015, you’ll have a leg up on everyone else come the new year. Then you can hire them to work for you.
Emotionally intelligent reasons to ramp up your reindeer game:
- Aside from the practical reasons to attend events, the reality is that over the holidays, people are more receptive and open. We buy into our collective social contract about goodwill and taking care of one another. You can go into it like a Grinch, but if you’re able to empathize and be selfless in your conduct, you will reap the rewards.
- Socializing with other grown-ups is always a net positive! Even if you don’t see an immediate professional benefit, you will reap an immediate psychological benefit. I can’t stress enough how as social creatures, not a one of us thrives in isolation. Leaving your house to interact with people has massive intrinsic benefits for your mood and sense of belonging.
- At the very least, get off your butt and go do some volunteer work. Distribute food. Snuggle a foster kitten. Clean up a beach. Activities with positive social impact are a better use of your time than playing video games or staring at a screen until your eyes bleed. You’ll feel better about how you spent your time, as you enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and the warm fuzzy glow that comes from helping others.
Read through all that and still feel like hibernating? Schedule a free consultation with me and I’ll yell at you personally. Unless it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s – I’m taking off. 😉