The Magic of Networking this Holiday Season

December 13, 2021 | Teresa L

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As we head into the holiday season, you may be catching up with friends and family. It’s the season where many spend time gathering with people and reconnecting. Although it’s also a time to turn off work and unwind, those who are job searching can think of the holidays as an opportunistic time of year!

Networking is by far the most successful job search method. It involves locating and sustaining relationships in order to exchange information and ideas. For the job search, networking provides a focused approach to meeting people, obtaining information and gaining access to hidden opportunities, or what’s called the hidden job market. Career management experts promote networking as the single most effective method of obtaining a new job. Some survey results also confirm this, stating that 85% of jobs are obtained through networking.

It’s important to know that networking does not involve asking anyone for a job. In networking, your goal is to continually build an ever-widening network of people that allows you to discover employer needs and positions. With each networking contact that provides you with information and names of other contacts, the news you are looking for work spreads.

While networking often invokes uncomfortable feelings, keep in mind that we all network every day without even knowing it. How many times have you asked someone how work is going? Made small talk with a stranger? That’s all considered networking. Now that you realize you do it more often than you thought, you need to employ some strategy and be more intentional about how you go about it.   

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Looking to do some research before you begin networking? Check out the Job Seeker Guided Learning Pathway, which offers a list of online courses on topics such as job search strategies, creating cover letters and resumes and even networking!

So how does your friend and family network help you land a job?  

How many times have you met a stranger, only to find out you both know someone in common? This concept is called six degrees of separation. The theory is that everyone in the world is linked together by no more than six other people or connections.

This is the foundation of networking. Right now, there is someone who is in need of your skills and they are connected to you. How it works:

Think of your network as being comprised of first, second, and third-degree contacts.

First-degree contacts include anyone you already know. These are the folks you will be mingling with this holiday season. While these people may not know your field, they may have a friend or a relative who does. Ask them if they wouldn’t mind connecting the two of you. These individuals are now considered the second-degree contacts and are able to provide you with insight into your industry field and may know of people or other companies who are hiring. Ask them to put you in touch with these third-degree contacts who have needs and can hire you or influence the hiring decision!

If you're meeting up with friends and family this holiday season, don't be afraid to tell them that you are looking to land a new position. This is a tremendous first step to beginning your networking journey and who knows what it could lead to in the New Year.

Happy Holidays and Happy Networking!

Are you a younger adult looking for some more career and job help tips? Book a one-on-one appointment with one of the library’s Career Coaches in Residence, who can offer advice and support on your career journey. 

Post written by Catherine Crawford, 2021-2022 Career Coach in Residence.

The Career Coaches in Residence program is generously supported by RBC Foundation and with the support of several donors.

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