New Year, New Job: Q1 Networking Tips from Experts

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Written by Anne-Marie Hays | Last Updated February 24th, 2020
Anne-Marie Hays is a Content Management Intern with Best Company. She enjoys comedy, hates crowds, and loves that you are reading this bio.

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This is part two out of three in our post-holiday season job search series. Read part one and part three here.

Job hunting at any time of year can be stressful. While we wait for The Secret to take effect, we have to take action and get working on manifesting our employment dreams, or even just our employment needs.

One of the most common buzzwords in the job search and recruitment world is networking. This skill and/or activity can be hard to grasp for those unfamiliar.

We asked hiring industry experts and professionals to share advice for people hunting for jobs directly after the holiday season. Here is what they had to say to clear up the clear-as-mud world of networking.

Networking for opportunities

“...[A]sk your network to introduce you to people in the industries and even the companies you are interested in. Getting meaningful introductions to the right people in these companies can uncover hidden jobs and create an awareness of you and your abilities for future opportunities.

Job seekers should not focus on the HR or talent acquisition departments unless these are the areas of business they want to uncover jobs in. Focus your networking and conversations on the leaders of the departments you are interested in working in.

Job search is tough, especially across the holiday seasons. It's important to believe in yourself and to work a process of researching, networking, getting into open conversations, and asking for that next conversation over and over again. This may seem daunting, so start your networking with people you already trust and respect. Success is right around the corner if you commit yourself to the work needed to uncover the hidden opportunities. The economy is doing well and businesses are finalizing their 2019 budgets. I have heard from many of my clients that they committed hiring new employees who can help them grow their business.“ — Teddy Burriss, Certified career coach and social networking professional, Burriss Consulting, Inc

“If you're looking to get a job early next year, one of the smartest things to do is to plan your job hunt strategy and start expanding your network during the holidays. It may not be the best season to get hired, but it's the perfect time to establish connections and strengthen loose ties with other members of the industry.

“Take a look at popular community events websites like Meetup.com or Eventbrite where many companies may have holiday parties or last minute recruiting push events you can attend.” — Jordan Wan, Founder and CEO, CloserIQ

“...'tis the season for networking. Professional and trade association holiday functions are great opportunities to chat informally with potential employers. Personally, I was offered two positions as a result of attending holiday functions.” — Frank Grossman, Resumes that Shine

“Lastly be sure to research your contacts and the firms they represent. Beyond job postings are articles in local papers about new businesses opening up in your area, often these are in the business section of the paper.

Some firms also hire interim workers over the holiday break to allow staff to take vacations. These interim positions can be a great way to earn a little cash and build a relationship with a company that could lead to a full-time position. Volunteering at local charities can also lead to opportunities as you often meet the sponsors for the charity during your volunteer work. This can be another way to get into the job flow over the holidays.” — Jonathan H. Phillips, milp.com

Identify advocates in your network

“For job seekers looking to hit the ground running during the first quarter of 2019, the fastest track to success will be to reach out to your closest contacts in your network. Often small local businesses will be looking to jump-start the new year and preferentially hire people they or someone they trust know well.

Go through your contacts and choose advocates from your network list. An advocate will be someone you know well either personally or professionally who is associated with a small to medium-sized business that is growing in your local community. If your contact is particularly active offer to start even before year-end to get a jump start on next year.

Do not overlook friends and neighbors, especially over the holidays. Conversations can be relaxed and social, just mentioning you are looking is often enough to get the ball rolling.” — Jonathan H. Phillips, milp.com

Work on your follow-through

“One of the keys to job searching is to be consistent. Many people start the new year with a wish for a new job, but they don't do the work to find the new job nor are they consistent in their approach. My number one tip is to follow-up after sending a resume or job inquiry. And, if you have an interview with an organization, send a follow-up e-mail, along with a handwritten thank you card in the mail. Many individuals forget these small details and don't realize that it is just one more time for the hiring manager to see your name.

Another tip is to consistently look for networking opportunities to expand your circle of influence. Let others know that you are interested in making a move and ensure they are aware of your skill-sets. Ideally, you can build this network prior to needing it, so even if you don't find a job within the first two months of the new year, take that time to join a chamber of commerce, attend a fundraising event, or visit a networking group. Then, follow-up with those individuals you meet and schedule one coffee date or lunch connection each week. The more you help others, the more likely they are to remember you when a job opens that may be the perfect fit.” — Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Owner, Feather Communications

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