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If your plan is to wait until the holidays are over to really jump start your job search, think again. The holidays are actually a great time to hunt for a new job. Here are some helpful tips, provided by About.com, for boosting your job search.

Use Holiday Events to Network

View every holiday event you attend as a networking opportunity and accept all the invitations you receive, both personal and professional. You never know who may be able to help. Friends and family, as well as business acquaintances are typically more than happy to assist. A word of warning – don’t overindulge. You don’t want to be remembered as the guest who had one too many drinks.

Even though job search networking is one of the most successful ways to find a new job, it can sound intimidating and sometimes seems a little bit scary. It doesn’t have to be.  My father ended up in a conversation on an airplane with someone who was looking for an aeronautical engineering job.  My dad happened to be in the same field and ended up assisting the person in getting a new job.  Sometimes, that’s all it takes.  I’ve been offered jobs on more than one occasion simply because a friend or acquaintance knew my background and skills.

Informal Job Search Networking

Try job search networking, it really does work.  At at least 60% – some report even higher statistics – of all jobs are found by networking.   Develop contacts – friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, people in associations – anyone who might help generate information and job leads.  You can take a direct approach and ask for job leads or try a less formal approach and ask for information and advice.  Contact everyone you know. You may be surprised by the people they know.   Make yourself pick up the phone and call.  It helps to assign yourself a quota of calls to be made each day. The more phone calls you make the easier it will become.

Email is a perfectly acceptable way to network as well.  Keep your message brief and to the point and be sure to check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

If you are attending a holiday gathering or any other type of party, it is appropriate to mention in casual conversation that you are seeking employment.  Accept all the invitations you receive – you never know where or when you might meet someone who can provide job search assistance!  My stepson was not only offered a co-op position by one of my friends that he met at a birthday party at our house, he was also remembered a year later when the company was hiring.

Formal Job Search Networking

Formal networking works too – try going to a business social or an association meeting or event.  You’ll find that many of the participants have the same goals you do and will be glad to exchange business cards.  If you’re shy, volunteer to work at the registration table where you can greet people as they come in or bring a friend to walk around the room with you – there’s security in numbers.

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