By Consiglia Intile, Assistant Director of Career Services, National Louis University
The holidays are here and you decide to finally take a break from career searching to celebrate the festivities, because you have the notion that companies will not hire during the holiday, but this is in fact false. This is actually the time of year when employers have more free time since their colleagues take time off work. To make the best use of this time and kick your career search into high gear, here are some tips that will help you stay on top of your job search during the holidays. Also, continuing your search over the holidays shows employers you are hardworking and serious about finding a position and they will find this impressive.
1). Research, Research, Research
Research a list of companies from the industry you are interested in and search for networking events that are taking place. Make a plan to also research about the people who will attend. This will help when starting conversations with these individuals and can help make a great first impression.
2). Focus on building rapport
The key to any networking event is to try to develop a strong relationship with your connections you meet, so it would be important to leave the resume at home. You want to be on good terms to follow up with those individuals. However, you can bring plenty of business cards with you so your connections can stay in touch with you.
3). Quality over Quantity
While it may be good to say hi to everyone in the room, limit connecting to about 3-5 individuals. This way you can focus a stronger and deeper conversation with those connections.
4). Conversation pointers
Remember 80% of the conversation should be about the person you are speaking with and 20% should be about yourself. Not sure what to talk about or say? Here are some questions that are appropriate during these conversations: How are you? How is their family doing? Or also anything that you were able to find out from researching their LinkedIn page can have a lasting first impression on your connection.
5). Remember to follow up with your connections
Don’t forget to stay in contact after meeting with your connections. Sending a thank you letter goes a long way and will also leave a great impression on the contact. Also remember to send a holiday card as well. Since you have built that relationship with your connection, it would be appropriate to ask them to meet with you to conduct an informational interview so you can gain more insight on the company and your specific industry of choice. Again, have no expectation that the connection will give you a job offer.