Network at the Holiday Party Hop

by Ashley Mancill, Head Editor, INALJ Alabama

Network at the Holiday Party Hop

ashleymancillAndy Williams calls it the most wonderful time of the year, but just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you should put off your job search until January. Although it may seem as if the only companies hiring during December are those in the retail and hospitality industries, some companies and organizations have already approved their budgets and are looking to hire additional employees before the New Year. Others may be sticking to traditional hiring timelines and finalizing their budgets but are likely scheduling interviews for jobs now.

So how can you land a new job this holiday season? In addition to researching companies and tailoring your résumé to positions that interest you, be sure to attend a few holiday get-togethers. “Holiday parties are great places to not only socialize, but also to network,” writes Robyn Melhuish of Business Insider. “The benefit of theses parties, besides free eggnog, is the ability to hob knob with people who might have insights into your job search.”

Go to family gatherings. While answering questions about your job hunt or unemployment status may be the last thing you want to do, family and friends can provide some much needed support and improve your outlook. And you never know what sort of job lead may pop up over the dinner table. Maybe your cousin Davey’s fiancé knows of an opening at her database company and thinks you’re a great fit, or your Aunt Cathy heard that there’s a book vending company in town in need of a buyer. Your family knows your career goals, and they can be integral to helping you meet them.

Ask a friend if you can be his or her plus one. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in working at the same company as your friends, meeting their coworkers and supervisors will allow you to expand your professional network. It’s also possible that you’ll meet another partygoer with connections outside the company or one who knows of other job opportunities that are in line with what you are looking for. “The bottom line is that the best job leads come from other professionals,” says career coach Catherine Jewell. “They are your entry point to the secret job market, which is only available through contact with people.” If you are interested in working for a friend’s company, be aware that some employers use holiday gatherings to recruit new employees. Chat with managers and supervisors to learn what is new in the industry and leave them a business card or get one of theirs if possible. If a job opening becomes available, you’ll have already established a connection, and you could become one of the leading candidates for the position.

Throw your own party. If you don’t feel comfortable attending someone else’s work party, throw your own holiday bash. Invite friends and family members and encourage them to bring other friends or coworkers. Take time to speak to everyone and thank them for coming. If someone mentions a job opening, ask for his or her contact information and if you can follow up later. Invite new connections out for coffee or a drink after the holidays so that you can stay in touch. It may not lead directly to a job but will help you establish new relationships that can be beneficial in the future.

Don’t forget that holiday get-togethers are social events, so talk about something other than business. And don’t drink too much eggnog—you want to make a good impression!

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 20.5 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 

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