Okay…I know you’re still munching on leftover Halloween candy. But now’s the time to start on this important part of your career development or job search…holiday networking.
I’m constantly on my students both at Curry College, where I head the undergraduate Public Relations concentration and teach most of the PR courses, and at Regis College, where I teach part-time in the graduate Organizational and Professional Communication area, to do this one thing and do it well…network.
If you’ve kind of been letting your outreach to folks you’ve met at professional and/or social functions lie fallow, now’s the perfect time to ramp up activities.
It’s not rocket-science, friends. It’s a simple direct message on Twitter or Facebook or whatever social media platform(s) you’re on…please tell me you’re on several!! It’s a (legibly) handwritten holiday card or simple note. It’s an invitation to get together for coffee. It’s networking at its simplest and finest!
Now…today…this weekend…is the ideal time to comb your contacts and identify those individuals on whose radar screen you really, really, really should be seen. (Even as I write this, I realize there are two people with whom I haven’t communicated in eons and with whom I must reconnect…
so this post has already been of value to me!)
Then plan your outreach. Who via Twitter? Facebook? Snail mail?? Sort it out…the task won’t seem so daunting.
When? Make it an organized operation…not hit-or-miss. Set aside an hour two or three days a week (early morning/evening…whenever you can without throwing your regular work or school routine into a tailspin).
Finally, keep track of your efforts. Sounds simplistic, but if you’re reaching out to a boatload of people, you want to make sure that (a) you do and (b) you don’t duplicate…kinda makes you look disorganized if you contact me through Facebook and snail mail at the same time. I tend to think “okay, mass mailing…not personal.”
Of course face-to-face is the best way to do your networking, but that’s obviously not always feasible. The energy that I always gain, though, from having sat and chatted with a friend or professional colleague over a cup of coffee is sooo worth the extra effort.
And that’s your assignment for the short-term. The holiday season, when everyone is all about friendships and giving and camaraderie, is an ideal time to re-kindle relationships.
“There are many ways to increase your knowledge of people through personal contact…Talk to people beyond the confines of your own business, social, professional, or even community group. Get new points of view.”
Edward L. Bernays, “A Definitive Study of Your Future in Public Relations” , p. 122