Attending family gatherings and parties during the holidays are often filled with much anticipation. As you plan to travel to your respective events this year, approach them with even more enthusiasm because they’re great times to catch up with loved ones, have fun, and are also golden opportunities to network. Below are some thoughts to consider the next time you have a chance to spread a little holiday cheer at a gathering or event.
When conversing with family or friends, you haven’t seen in a while, elaborate on your discussions. Don’t skip the details or miss out on an opportunity to talk about work, even if they’re not in the same field. Show genuine interest in their line of work and let them know about your career plans. You never know what may come from the conversation or where it may lead your career.
During conversations within your networks, listen for possible connections. It is important to recognize your loved ones may have valuable career allies. If you can identify any synergy with your personal network or if someone in your network happens to know someone tied to your career interests, don’t be afraid to seek out details intentionally.
When attending a family-friendly gathering, you should never be in a position where your resume is not easily accessible. Various technology options can assist with making a resume easy to access, whether using Dropbox, cloud storage, or a USB drive. You never know whom you may run into.
Ask for an Introduction
If you happen to identify a possible connection in your field of interest or a field you are trying to get into, ask your friend or family member for an introduction. That introduction can come in the form of an email, contact information exchange, or face-to-face. An introduction from your personal network can carry much more weight than an intro from an acquaintance because you have already passed the initial background check from a reliable source. Potential new connections are more likely to view you in a different light since a trusted colleague is referring you.
Remember your friend or family member is putting their reputation on the line to introduce, recommend and/or vouch for you. Suppose you are not going to follow up on a lead, or you are fluffing your actual qualifications and job duties. That huge mistake affects your hiring ability and your relationship with the person who vouched for you. Not only would you miss out on an opportunity, but you could also burn a bridge you may need down the road. Remember that you will see family and friends again in the future, so respect them by doing the right thing and minimizing the awkward moments that could arise at the next gathering.
Seek advice from your personal network to get insight on the best way to follow up with your newly introduced connection. Follow up with your new connection the next business day while it is fresh in their memory bank. Suppose you are lucky enough that your lead works with your personal connection. In that case, they can always bring you up in casual conversation at work as an indirect follow-up.
During the holidays, apply some of the tips discussed. Enjoy the company, food, and conversation, but don’t forget to put your networking cap on. Your friends and family are your biggest supporters, but they can only help you if they know your plans and goals. ‘Tis the season to get networking! Happy Holidays!