The holiday season isn’t just about Santa Claus, Baby Yoda and homemade eggnog. While many people hibernate during the holidays to recuperate, this can be the perfect time to move your career forward. For one thing, with all the social gatherings, there are plenty of networking opportunities. People tend to be more open and relaxed, and if you are searching for a new job or career, the competition will be limited. This is good news if you are one of those people who are organized, motivated, and ready to take the New Year by storm. By investing in these strategies to advance your career over the holidays, you’ll be ten steps ahead of your peers.
Revamp your online presence
Whether you’re happy in your current job or longing for something new, it’s always a good idea to update your personal brand. This process starts with your social media presence—especially LinkedIn. LinkedIn is just as important, if not more important than your résumé. One reason for this is the visibility factor. Anyone in the world (assuming you have a public profile) can pull up your profile and view your experience, skills, education, interests, recommendations, and more.
In contrast, not everyone has access to your résumé (or if they did, not everyone wants to take the time to read it). Ideally, you will want to update your LinkedIn profile and résumé concurrently so that your messaging is consistent. When you have some downtime or in between family gatherings, find a quiet spot to work on your personal brand. A little time here and there can go a long way in helping to advance your career.
Invest in your network
The holidays are a time for festivity! Attend events like fundraisers and open houses that allow you to mingle with people who can introduce you to job opportunities. Even a holiday party at your neighbor’s house can help you connect with valuable contacts in a friendly, low-pressure setting. Utilize these social events to reach out to old friends, former managers and previous colleagues. When you can’t meet in person, take the time to send a friendly email, or make a quick phone call. Let your job search or career transition come up naturally in conversation so that you don’t come across as desperate or calculating. To put yourself in the right frame of mind, don’t view these as “networking” activities (which is a word that makes many people cringe). Instead, consider them relationship-building opportunities.
For most people, the holidays represent a time for giving back. Volunteering is a great way to help the community while meeting other like-minded professionals and building your professional network. Another way to give back is to help someone advance their career. This is the perfect time to craft a glowing recommendation for a protégé or write a testimonial on LinkedIn for a former colleague. Remember, networking is a two-way street. Add value for the other person. Find a way to assist them with information or a connection to keep the relationship mutual. By helping someone today, they may assist you with landing your dream job in the future.
Lay the groundwork
With a bit of time off, you can lay the foundation for the coming year. Take a step back to consider your career goals. Think about your ideal job situation. Do you really want to spend another year at the same company? If the answer is no, now is the perfect time to devise a strategy to advance your career. Many people have ideas of what their dream job would look like, but have you ever considered writing it down? Take a minute to document your perfect career situation and be very specific. Imagine where you are working and what your daily life looks like. Writing down your goals forces you to get clear on what you want. One study found that people become 42% more likely to achieve their goals and dreams, just by writing them down regularly. Once you have your ideal situation written down, you will start to see small steps that you can take to slowly, but surely, get there.
Don’t assume that the holidays are just lost downtime. While it’s important to take time to recharge your batteries, you can still make progress and advance your career. With these easy strategies, you’ll be well positioned to enjoy career satisfaction and fulfillment in the New Year.