It’s officially December, and what’s occurring for many job seekers and those focused on networking is a total break in the work they’ve done up until this point in the year. The mentality, when Thanksgiving hits, is that everyone is out of the office, everyone is focused on the holidays, and it’s pointless to focus on a job search or networking initiatives during this time. Nothing could be more wrong!
The best advice I’ve ever gotten in my career came from an expert in outplacement and job search just before I moved to Chicago in late 2010. My initial plan was to wait until the first of the year 2011 to move to Chicago, finish out the year at my job in Minneapolis, and jump into the job search first thing after moving here on January 1st. This incredible mentor, in fall of 2010, told me I needed (not should, not maybe, but needed) to go to Chicago earlier than I’d planned. She told me that December was a “sweet spot month” for networking and job search. Why? Consider these reasons:
- Your competition is out of the game. Because most people are taking a break from searching and networking, you’ll have less competition in the jobs you do apply for, and less competition in connecting specifically for networking purposes as well.
- Offices are quiet. The notion that “everyone’s on vacation” in December isn’t 100% true, but it is partially true. Many, many people are in the office right up until the Christmas holiday. But offices are also quiet because there are people taking more time off than in other months. For this reason, the individuals you’re hoping to connect with may actually have more time than usual to dedicate to networking and hiring.
- Holiday themed networking is in full force. Large networking groups often host their largest events in the month of December as a “holiday party” of sorts. Because many people have quiet times in their offices, these events are well-attended and can be very fun as well. Cultivate some great connections and holiday cheer simultaneously.
- January budgets are just around the corner. All over America are hiring managers who, because of budget restrictions, are waiting until January 1st to open requisitions for jobs. Networking heavily in the month of December can get you a handle on the openings that might be coming at your target companies and the process you might be able to speed through when January comes.
Don’t throw away the month of December in any of your job search or networking goals. It can, in fact, be your “sweet spot” for networking and connecting. Run strong, right up until your first holiday off. It will make all the difference.