Network Your Way Through the Festive Season

In Australia, Christmas and New Year coincides with our summer holidays. Whatever the demands of our professional lives, we embrace the change in pace, and the long languid days, to soak up the sun and recharge our batteries. By Christmas Eve, we are starting to shed our armour, become more relaxed and accessible.

The festive season is a time for reflection and renewal. We gather with family and friends, reconnect with former colleagues and classmates, meet up with acquaintances and make new ones. With a diary full of social commitments, we engage with people when they are at their most gracious and charitable. It’s a networker’s dream.

Whether you’re contemplating a career change, or searching for a new job as a result of a role redundancy, the holiday atmosphere creates space to explore your options, discover new pathways, refine your strategy and develop a plan.

With an open and curious mind, this downtime is valuable for some career due diligence. While businesses may close over the break, their staff holiday with you. As the ‘Hidden Job Market’ accounts for 70-80% of employment opportunities, you can learn more about the state of the market from the people you meet. ‘Informational interview’ opportunities are all around you.

To maintain momentum and be ready to hit the ground running in 2013, here are 3 things you can do for your career during the festive season:

Polish your LinkedIn profile

Refresh your content, and include a new update. Add an application and edit your headline, experience, achievements and skills, to ensure your profile is search-friendly. Let people know that you’re active, interesting and marketable. Where appropriate, use the fields to signal your availability for a new position or assignment. While you’re there, take the opportunity to endorse a skill or tailor a ‘seasons greetings’ email for your connections.

Stimulate your mind

If you’d like to upskill, or learn something new to accelerate your career advancement, check out courses you can undertake over summer. It doesn’t need to offer gilt-edge accreditation, and there are plenty of cost-effective online courses available. Check out Coursera and Udemy for inspiration. Not only does it show that you’ve got initiative, further study provides intellectual stimulation, gives you something to talk about and add to your resume.

A random act of kindness

Many people need support over the festive season. Volunteering your time and energy will keep you busy and connected over the break. In addition to making you feel good, you will meet new people, challenge your thinking, and potentially obtain an experience which will help you transition into a new career. As many corporate employers support their staff to participate in volunteer programs, they may be impressed by such experiences, which can be highlighted on your resume and LinkedIn profile. For opportunities look around in your community, and organisations such as Volunteering Australia.

Wishing you joy, peace and career fulfilment in 2013

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