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I Want A New Job For Christmas

Dear Santa,

Please bring me a new job for Christmas. I’d like one with a great boss, lots of opportunity for growth and a total rewards program that recognizes the value I create for the company. I’d also like a puppy. Thanks!

While Santa may not be bringing offer letters down the chimney, the holiday season is a time of change, reflection and new beginnings, which can include a new job or career, if you know what to do. As you have probably heard, networking is by far the best and most effective way to find a good job. Most jobs are never advertised before they are filled, but the holidays are a great time to tap into this hidden job market.

1. Attend holiday parties

This is prime season for parties, so I’m giving you one more reason to attend them. Don’t just go for the food and drinks - in fact, go very slowly with the drinks – but go to network! Step outside of your comfort zone and speak to interesting people you don’t already know. With that said, your goal is quality, not quantity.

2. Make friends

Networking is about building meaningful, purposeful friendships. It is not about using people to give you a job. To do this, you will spend most of the conversation learning about the other person and finding common interests and experiences.

3. Share goals

As you establish rapport, use the natural flow of the conversation to share your goals:

“ I’ve been working as a project manager in the chemicals industry for the past five years, but I’m starting to look at director level roles.”

As you can see, it doesn’t take more than one or two sentences to explain your background and goals. But the real magic comes from the next step, where you don’t immediately ask them to get you a job or look at your resume.

4. Ask for advice

Once you’ve shared your goals, tell the other person you’d love to hear if they have any advice or suggestions for you based on their experience. People generally love to give advice. Think about it – how many times have you willingly offered advice, even when nobody asked for it? Not only will you get suggestions, tips and referrals, but you can even ask if they know of anyone who has made this kind of change before who might be able to advise you. Sometimes asking for a referral works better at a second meeting, so it’s perfectly OK to follow up with people to invite them to coffee so you can pick their brains or just get to know them better.

5. Follow up

Stay in touch with the people who’ve given you advice to let them know when you’ve used their tips. Share articles and information you think they may enjoy. Introduce them to people they may enjoy. And if they do recommend that you call a friend of theirs, it is not only crucial that you follow up on that lead, but also that you thank them again and update them after you talk to their friend.

Networking for a new job is very much about building meaningful and purposeful relationships with people who have knowledge, relationships and experience you can learn from. Share your goals with these people, but don’t ask them to do all of the work for you. Find jobs of interest at their companies, let them know you plan to apply, and ask if they have any tips for your resume or the application process before you submit the application. In this way, you are still taking responsibility for your success, but you are building friendships and alliances that can support and strengthen your candidacy.

And if these professional associates tell you that you simply aren’t a strong candidate for the roles of interest to you, you can also find out exactly what education or experience you need to take you to that next step, and start working on your New Year’s Resolutions to make those things happen!

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