holiday networking
The holidays offer ample opportunities for career advancement and industry networking. Free-Photos/Pixabay

The holidays are traditionally a time to gather with friends and family, but they’re also a time to reflect on the year’s achievements and set one’s sights on goals one hopes to achieve in the coming year. Festivities around the holidays offer ample opportunities for career advancement and industry networking — but mindfulness is key.

Some may be looking forward to upward mobility in the coming year, and there are a number of ways to get a leg up on the competition. Tools for success include casting a wide networking net and understanding the ways that AI and social media can sway a potential employer. Keeping the following in mind during the holidays can maximize career opportunities in the year ahead.

Use Networking as a Tool for Success

A recent Talent Trends survey found that 48 percent of quality hires come through existing employee referrals, and companies have taken note of this. Some companies even have reward programs in place to entice existing employees to bring in new talent, and holiday parties or local meetups are perfect opportunities to strengthen one’s professional network by meeting new people and connecting with colleagues.

While networking, initiate meaningful conversations that will make a lasting impression, but also consider the impact of body language. A study from the European Business Conferences Group, an organizer of workshops and business conferences, found that 80 to 90 percent of our communication lies outside of the words we use. That includes eye contact, tone of voice, body language and physical touch. Keeping your arms crossed, for example, can be a significant barrier to connecting with new people at a networking event.

Topload Resume Buzzwords and Qualifications

Recruiters spend mere seconds reviewing a candidate’s resume, and companies are increasingly using AI technology to assist in screening applications. This means that industry buzzwords, relevant experience and stand-out achievements are essential to being noticed.

It’s important to keep one’s resume to a maximum of two pages. Emphasize core skills for the desired role at the top, and remember that style can be as important as substance. Avoid cluttering a resume with too much information — the smaller details can wait for the interview.

Be Mindful of Social Media’s Pitfalls and Advantages

One of the first things a hiring manager does when considering a candidate is explore the candidate’s social media profiles. Be cognizant of the reality that an up-to-date LinkedIn page may be just as impactful as one’s public reviews on AirBnB. If it’s online, assume it’s being read by a hiring manager.

That being said, social media can offer opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and status in an industry through social media by following relevant stories relating to a desired employer. Candidates should comment and share industry-specific issues on public social media platforms to show that they are actively a part of the discourse.

Add a Personal Touch to Outreach

Just as a personal touch has meaning in the art of gift giving, it’s just as important in the art of networking. Social media makes it simple and easy to reach out to a host of people with just one click. Reach out online to start building conversations through emails or LinkedIn, but do avoid personal Facebook pages when networking.

Hand-written cards are also a thoughtful way to reach out to a potential employer or industry connection, but avoid giving the impression that outreach is pegged to favors. Keep holiday messages and networking discourse sincere to truly enhance a vital industry relationship.

Ben Reuveni is the co-founder and CEO of recruitment data science company Workey.