Tis the Season for Parties -- and Job Hunting!
With all the year-end office parties and holiday gatherings, this is a good time to land a new position for 2006. Here's how to network at these festivities.
The holiday season is the time for office parties, professional get-togethers, and year-end meetings. Every year readers write to me asking if it's appropriate for them to use these events to search for a new job. And every year, I say yes. While it may be tempting to kick back and relax during the holidays, that could be a costly mistake. As companies finish up their financial planning for 2006, they're under pressure to fill certain openings or risk losing the budget for those jobs. And hiring managers often don't travel as much around the holidays, so they may have more time -- and patience -- to chat with job seekers.
This is also the perfect time to stand out from your potential rivals, many of whom may be too busy shopping, cooking, or partying to job search. So if you haven't been invited to enough professional gatherings, ask friends who work at other companies if they can invite you as their guest. Remember that you don't want to turn a festive occasion into an obvious job-search activity. Go with the objective of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. But to make the most of these gatherings, here are some dos and don'ts that I've given readers over the years:
And since the holiday season is a time of giving, if you have a job, make yourself available to a friend or acquaintance who is looking for one. If you can, offer to serve as a reference, proofread her resume, or help her role-play interview scenarios. Job searching can be a stressful, discouraging experience, so call up someone who is looking for a position and offer her encouragement, or invite her out to lunch. After all, what goes around comes around. Who knows? A currently unemployed acquaintance may someday return the favor when the shoe is on the other foot.
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