Job searching in the holidays is not easy. It's hard to stay positive and upbeat when you are feeling the pressure to find work. And yet, you need to have the right attitude in order to project an image of confidence that others will remember. Which leads to my tip: Instead of talking about the struggles of the job hunt, you need to find other things to discuss.
There is a simple technique I teach clients to make networking during the holiday easier. Just because you aren't employed, doesn't mean you don't have a lot to offer to the conversation. All you need to do is provide value - and that can be done quite easily with a little thought on your end.
You see, people respect, admire, and most importantly REMEMBER individuals who share something of substance. In doing so, your credibility goes up, as does the likelihood of someone thinking of you next time they hear about an open position.
So, before your next holiday event, consider some of the ways you could share what you've been learning while job hunting with others as follows:
#1: I read something...
Share the interesting takeaways you got from an article or blog post you read in the last few weeks. This will engage the group in a unique conversation and you will be remembered as the person who started it. For example, highlight a tip or two you read about using LinkedIn or Twitter and ask other people for their thoughts on the social media tools.
#2: I watched something...
Similar to #1, mention a news clip, documentary, movie, or other video-based item that got your attention and made a positive impression. Perhaps it was a clip on how people are saving money for the holidays or unique ways people are giving back during the season. Anything positive will be well-received in conversation.
#3: I met someone new...
If you are job seeking, then you've (hopefully) been actively networking, either on-line or in-person. Mention someone you were introduced to for the first time that you were really impressed by and share a little bit about their background and expertise with people to see if they have ever heard of this person too. Not only will they appreciate the information, this may prompt them to suggest somebody similar for you to get to know.
#4: I reconnected with someone...
Share your experience getting back in touch with an old colleague or friend. (Again, as a job seeker, I hope you are doing this weekly!) Share what you learned they'd been up to and how nice it was to hear about their success. Better still, recommend them if you can as someone who is an expert in their field and highlight what makes them exceptional. Showing this kind of respect and admiration for someone says a lot about you - not to mention, it could result in those you are conversing with pointing out people of similar character they think you should get to know.
Sharing this kind of information during the holiday season is a smart career move. By using one or more of the above discussion starters, you will find it easy to engage in meaningful conversations. Most importantly, it will give back to you by enhancing your reputation as a true professional.
PS - This article was written as part of the Career Collective's effort to provide holiday job search advice. Here are some other great articles to read on the subject:
How did members of the Career Collective respond? Follow us on Twitter with our hashtag #careercollective and read these posts:
@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes, Season's Greetings and your Job Search
@GayleHoward, The Executive Brand, It's Christmas: And a ho-ho-ho-hum?
@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, The Gift Every Laid Off Job Seeker Needs
@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog,Holiday Resume Sparkle: Outshine the New Year Job-Search Mob
@heathermundell, life@work, Have a Holly Jolly Job Search
@sweetcareers,Sweet Careers, Holiday Job Search Tips for College Students 2009″
@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Cheers
@heatherhuhman, HeatherHuhman.com, 4 Tips for Making the Most of Holiday Job Hunting
@LaurieBerenson, Sterling Career Concepts, Three Resolutions to Take It Up a Notch
@KatCareerGal, Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, Avoiding the Holiday Blues in Your Job Search
@WorkWithIllness, WorkingWithillness.com, Avoid this Minefield: Drive Your Bus!
@erinkennedycprw, Professional Resume Services, How to keep up the Job Hunt during the Holidays
@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, Four tips for effective networking follow-up for the holidays and the rest of the year
@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, Navigating the Mistle Toe of Job Search
@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, Merry Christmas! Can I Buy You Coffee to Talk About Me?
@BarbaraSafani, Career Solvers, Holiday Networking Can Facilitate New Year Opportunities
@expatcoachmegan, Career By Choice Blog, Expat Networking: Holidays Are a Great Time to Nurture and Grow Your Network
@chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog, Footprints & Associations: Job Search Tips for the Holidays