In my last post, "'Tis the Season... So Get Out There!" I discussed four reasons why December is actually the very best month of the year to look for work. Here is reason number five -- and it's a biggie!
Bar none, the holidays are the best time of year to reconnect with your contacts. Holiday greetings are not only welcomed, they're expected. So take the opportunity to send out cards and enclose one of those newsy letters people write to update friends and family on what's gone on with them during the past twelve months.
Such merry messages present the perfect occasion to greet people you don't see on a regular basis and look for work at the same time. Towards the end of the letter and using a light touch, let them know you're in a job search and what type of work you're looking to find. It's also appropriate (and helpful) to mention a few of your target companies and ask friends if they might know someone who works in one of these organizations. You might write something like: "I've been targeting companies X, Y, and Z and am interested in finding out more about them from the inside. If you know anyone who works at any of these firms, I'd appreciate you letting me know."
That way you've laid the groundwork by mentioning your target companies in your letter. When you see your friends at holiday gatherings or follow up with them at a later date, you can ask if they were able to come up with any names or suggestions... again in a friendly, lighthearted manner.
Whatever you do, do not ask for direct help in locating a job. This might put your friends on the defensive. Your aim is to make clear you'll appreciate any and all information your contacts might share. Remember, you'll want to keep in the holiday spirit and remain festive. So don't push too hard or overload them with a long list -- three or four companies will do for now.
You can even send holiday greetings to recruiters you've worked with in the past, reconnect and update them on your search. Recruiters are busy people and can easily forget candidates. So your greeting may well put you at the top of their minds in a favorable light. And, if you're very lucky, they might have the ideal job cross their desk just as your greeting appears in their inbox. At a minimum, you'll remind them you're a thoughtful, positive person who is someone people would enjoy having on their team.
You might also consider sending a brief message to managers with whom you've interviewed. You can wish them well and let them know you're still interested in their position/company. Even if they've hired someone for the job you were seeking, things may not be working out. (Most companies employ a 90-day trial period for just this reason.) Or they might have new openings that would be a perfect fit for someone with your talents and skills.
Sending messages to recruiters and managers with whom you've interviewed would not require cards. In fact, cards would likely be perceived as overkill. Rather, your greetings can easily be sent in the form of an email. Brief and friendly is your goal.
Above all, be sure to take full advantage of this very special time of year. People tend to be a bit merrier and certainly more open to reconnecting. So take the time to reach out, share the warmth of the season and keep your ultimate goals in mind. Your friendly greetings might just translate into the job you've been seeking... and nothing beats ringing in a productive and prosperous New Year!
For more ways to land a job while you're making merry, tune in to my 15-minute podcast, The Holidays: BEST Time of Year to Look for Work!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide packed with tools to turn age into an advantage -- providing mature applicants with techniques to successfully navigate the modern job market as well as strategies that give them the edge over the competition. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!