This post is by Jessica Miller-Merrell, a leadership blogger at Blogging4Jobs. She is a digital strategist with a passion for recruitment, human resources, training and social media and is the author of “Tweet This! Twitter for Business,” a how-to business guide for Twitter.
We are just 12 short days away from the Christmas holiday. Between now and New Year’s lay before us the opportunity to build relationships and grow our network all while sharing a little eggnog and holiday joy. But a reality looms beneath the holiday cheer. Directly after the busy holiday season is January, the month when employees are most likely to exit their workplace. Whether it’s of their own devices or as a result of a corporate downsize, January is the month employers and employees are most likely to part ways.
No matter who you are or where you work, you are never safe in your job search. And networking both offline and online is the key to a successful career and future. It turns out that between 65% and 85% of all jobs are found as a result of networking. It’s never too early to start or too late, and the holidays should be no exception.
Social media in 2011 has been an extremely popular complement to a job seeker’s strategy. According to Jobvite’s social media study, 36.6 million job seekers used social media as part of their job search strategy in 2011. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or your blog, social media can provide an effective way to further strengthen these in-person relationships while also sharing your expertise and building your personal brand.
- E-cards. Send out free Internet holiday cards to your network. Hallmark.com has a large variety of interesting and work-appropriate cards to engage your network at no cost to the send or receiver. Not every decision maker or business professional uses or responds best when it comes to social media. Diversify your channels and strategies when it comes to building relationships using both social media-based and more traditional communication methods such as e-mail.
- Use your blog. Interview your top client prospects or companies on your blog as a way to develop a truly unique relationship that makes way for referrals, business and new friendships. Most everyone likes to see their names in print or media. Take advantage of that fact and use your blog to build relationships and open doors.
- Host a holiday open house. Either at work or at your home, virtual or in person. Clients, friends and colleagues can visit and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, wine or sparkling cider while building new relationships or catching up with old friends. Looking to host a virtual cocktail party? Consider using Google Hangout or host an online network using a Blog Talk Radio channel or FreeConferenceCall.com.
- Hit the holiday party scene. Make the rounds to all the holiday events and bring a stack of business cards. Never miss an opportunity to make a lasting impression. No business cards? Follow up with a nice personal note via LinkedIn or Facebook to help solidify the personal connection. Take the conversation even further by adding value to your new-found network through online introductions establishing value for later when it’s time for you to ask for something in return.
- Go old school. Take part in the traditional method of distributing holiday cards using snail mail. Select marketing materials to make a lasting impression. Drop by personalized and homemade holiday gifts to your network. Mix your favorite blend of coffees and package in a custom bag with label. Don’t forget to include your contact information and business card. Schedule an afternoon or two to make the rounds.
Bottom line: Get out there and get moving. The biggest mistake I see in the job search and in business is people waiting for the opportunities to come to them instead of taking the bull by the horns. Regardless of the season, holidays or not, professionals should never stop networking especially considering that the average time in position is a mere 18 months. Social media should serve as a complement to your aggressive in-person relationship-building strategy providing you access to decision makers, hiring managers and key players at the organizations where you wish to work.