Attending family gatherings and parties during the holidays are often filled with much anticipation. As you make plans to travel to your respective events, approach them with even more enthusiasm because they’re not only great times to catch up with loved ones and have fun, but they are also golden opportunities to network. Below are some thoughts to consider the next time you have a chance to spread a little holiday cheer at a gathering or event.
When engaged in conversation with family or friends you haven’t seen in a while elaborate on your discussions. Don’t skip the details or miss out on an opportunity to talk about work even if they’re not in the same field. Show genuine interest in their line of work and let them know about your career plans. You never know what may come from the conversation, and where it may lead your career.
During your conversations with your networks, listen for possible connections. It is important to recognize your loved ones may have valuable career allies. If you are able to identify any synergy with your personal network or if someone in your network happens to know someone tied to your career interests don’t be afraid to intentionally seek out details.
When attending a family-friendly gathering, you should never be in a position where your resume is not easily accessible. There are various technology options that can assist with making a resume easy to access, whether that’s using Dropbox, cloud storage or a USB drive. You never know whom you may run into.
Ask for an Introduction
If you happen to identify a possible connection in your field of interest or a field you are trying to get into, ask your friend or family member for an introduction. That introduction can come in the form of an email, contact information exchange or face-to-face. An introduction from your personal network can carry much more weight than an intro from an acquaintance because you have already passed the initial background check from a reliable source. Potential new connections are more likely to view you in a different light since a trusted colleague is referring you.
Remember your friend or family member is putting their reputation on the line to introduce, recommend and/or vouch for you. If you are not going to follow-up on a lead or you are fluffing your actual qualifications and job duties that is a huge mistake that affects your hiring ability as well as your relationship with the person who vouched for you. Not only would you be missing out on an opportunity, but you could also burn a bridge you may need in the future. Keep in mind you will see family and friends again in the future, so respect them by doing the right thing and minimize the awkward moments that could arise at the next gathering.
Seek advice from your personal network to get insight on the best way to follow-up with your newly introduced connection. Follow-up with your new connection the next business day, while it is fresh in their memory bank since they are familiar with their colleague. If you are lucky enough that your lead happens to work with your personal connection, there is always the possibility of them bringing you up in casual conversation at work as an indirect follow-up.
As the holidays quickly approach be sure to apply some of the tips discussed. Enjoy the company, food, and conversation, but don’t forget to put your networking cap on. Your friends and family are your biggest supporters, but they can only help you if they know what your plans and goals are.