‘Tis the season

‘Tis the season to be networking.

Wait, what? Everyone knows the holidays are a time to take a break from any thoughts of career change. From Thanksgiving to the New Year, no one is hiring. At least that’s what I hear from candidates when I call them in the month of December.

But let me blow up that myth. In my nearly 20 years of recruiting, December has often been my busiest month. So whether you are actively looking for a new opportunity, or just receiving a message from a recruiter interested in speaking with you about your career goals, this is a great time of year for those conversations.

Let’s talk about why.

Feeling Festive
Networking conversations are about connecting with people. This is a month where people are feeling more festive and are open to that coffee or lunch meeting. So often we realize that the entire year has passed and we’ve been head down at work, forgetting to make time for important people in our network. Send out some emails. Make some calls. Tell people you were thinking of them and want to catch up. Talk about what’s new in your life – including your career goals for 2016. Chances are, if you tell someone where you’re trying to go, they might be able to help you get there.

Year End Rush
When a company has a position that is critical, they need to fill it as quickly as possible. Everyone wants to kick off the new year with the right team in place. When candidates “take the holidays off” and are not taking recruiter calls or actively applying for positions, it’s simply harder to fill available positions with great talent. If you are open to exploring career possibilities over the holidays, you may be swimming in a less crowded pool. The slackers are on break.

Looking Ahead
Maybe you don’t really want to make a change right now. That’s fine. But in spite of that, I want to still encourage you to take advantage of this time of year for a little reconnecting. Let’s be realistic. People tend to decide it’s time to network only when they need something. But networking is not just about you needing something – you may actually find yourself in a position to help others (including that recruiter who reached out to you about a job that you’re not interested in but you may have great referrals). Not only does that earn you a few karma points, it can feel quite satisfying. And, by authentically connecting simply because you value those individuals in your network, you’ll find that they’ll be much more willing to help you if – or when – you need something in the future.

So make your list of contacts and take a few minutes each week to say hello. You’ll be amazed at the results.