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Surprising ways to enjoy the holiday season

Holidays … aren’t they supposed to be a time away from our daily routines?
I actually like daily routines although as a business owner, I’ve had to learn to manage what feels like total flexibility. When I worked in both the corporate and non-profit worlds, I had specific routines. Some of them were daily, some weekly…quarterly and annual.

Routines can help us to be efficient. However, if they go too long, they become that horrible grind that quickly reduces our quality of life, saps our motivation, and leaves us ambivalent and lethargic.

Efficient and effective jobseekers have routines as well. Typically, they include different kinds of activities that fall into categories such as applying for employment opportunities, networking in various ways and meeting with accountability groups.

Holiday Networking for Jobseekers

I went out to the “information mall of the universe” (yes…the Internet) and spent about four hours looking at networking ideas, especially those that focused on “holiday” networking. I admit that if I was a jobseeker, I’d be un-excited. Truly, I couldn’t find anything new.

You know the typical drill:
  • Be ready with your “elevator” speech. (Just a reminder: I don’t think typical elevator speeches are a good investment. Elevator pitches are no better. You can read about it here.
  • Be ready for the standard questions:
    • What do you do?
    • What are you looking for?
    • Where have you applied?
    • YAWN!
Okay, so now back to Holiday Networking.

Should, can, might “holiday networking” be different?

As I mentioned, I didn’t like what I found on the internet. Everything was the same…readers were encouraged to find the guest list and try to get an introduction to potential hiring managers, etc. Not a bad idea at all, but I kept thinking that during the holidays, a different approach might be more effective. I started asking myself some questions that I’ll ask you.

Four unexpected holiday networking questions:

  1. How many people do you know that want to talk about what you do, what you are looking for, where you have applied for jobs, and how rudely you have been treated by the hiring industry? (I suspect you don’t know anyone.)
  2. Do YOU really want to talk about that at a holiday party, business gathering, or meal with friends? (I suspect you don’t.)
  3. How about during the holiday events such as concerts, presentations and the like? Is that what you want to discuss at intermission?
  4. Does anyone want to talk about the horrible treatment of jobseekers during the commercials of the NCAA playoffs? (… a safe assumption is that it is unlikely they want to talk about that…and they likely don’t want to talk about any other jobseeker topics either…and besides, the commercials are some of the best entertainment.)

Four not-so-unexpected holiday networking assumptions:

So far, this is what we have:
It is a safe assumption that:
  1. Holiday networking is different than “regular” networking.
  2. Social events during holidays are just that: social!
  3. It’s rare that people want to talk about the dire state of those looking for employment during the holidays. (The state of jobseekers is truly dire…but people just don’t want to talk about it during the holidays.)
  4. Jobseekers don’t want to talk about it either. Effective jobseekers have a daily and weekly routine and taking time off is important.

The BEST networking you can do at holiday events:

A quick Internet search on “Why are people hired” will turn up lists of why people are hired and why they are passed over. Those lists bring up the usual stuff, such as “impressive résumé, relevant work experience, strong online presence… In a social setting, all of these are inappropriate.

However, there were a few items on those lists that are perfect for holiday social events. They include:
  • Ability to work well with others.
  • Creative
  • Enthusiasm and initiative
  • Making others comfortable
  • Positive attitude
  • Enjoy being at the office
These are perfect for any social gathering! This entire list is and quickly shouts out how to prepare for the event.

How to prepare for a successful holiday event:

  1. Leave disappointments and frustrations in the glove compartment of your car.
  2. Have a list of stories that demonstrate your values and what you enjoy.
  3. Make people comfortable by asking about their hopes and successes during the year.

One thing, above all…

Bring a positive attitude, quiet enthusiasm and hope for a successful future. You don’t have to talk about these, but your attitude will come through. This easier-said-than-done detail will demonstrate your strength of character.

Positve proof from an expert

I’m a fan of Liz Ryan and this article is a must read. Here’s my favorite quote:
“…I noticed one glaring truth about who gets hired.

“It doesn’t have to do with the jobseeker’s resume, clothes, age, nationality, price tag, patter, track record or educational credentials.

“The people who got hired were people who came to the match-making process to learn more, not to please anyone. The people who got hired were people who were intellectually curious.”

Holiday Networking – transformation

To transform holiday networking, I suggest the following:
  1. Decide to take time off and enjoy yourself during holiday events. (Note that this suggestion is about the event, not the entire day or week(s).)
  2. Create a list of non-job-related topics to use—just in case you get an awkward silence.
  3. If people ask about your job search, kindly thank them and ask for time after the holidays to connect and discuss it.

Holiday Networking Review and Suggestion:

Holidays are supposed to be a time of reflection; a celebration of our values and beliefs. We celebrate with soul-searching, with friends, family, colleagues, and others who share those values, beliefs and other commonalities. Holidays are a time to encourage each other and recommit ourselves and our resolve to move forward and build a better future.

So, with that, I encourage every person, jobseeker or not, to use make different use of the holidays than the usual routines that inhabit our usual weekly schedules.

My list of holiday goals:

Daily:
  • Encourage jobseekers daily.
  • Encourage non-jobseekers daily.
  • When I get frustrated, respond with kindness.
  • Take time daily (even a little bit) to reflect on myself.
Looking back:
  • Create a list of successes and accomplishments during the year.
  • Include the successes and accomplishments that seem insignificant and have no meaning to anyone but me.
  • Create a list of ways that I have been positively influenced throughout the year by people and circumstances.
  • Create a list of relationships that are meaningful and to whom I am grateful. Write each person and tell them about it.
  • Itemize those things that I am grateful for.
Looking forward:
  • Create a list of actions that are important but not urgent. Resolve to do them.
Okay, that’s it. If you have ideas, suggestions, additions… whatever; please consider making a comment.



Master these jobseeker skills to differentiate yourself, and stay ahead of the curve.



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