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Winter Break Job/Internship Search Tips

These same tips are posted on a bulletin board here in West Hall, but since there aren't any students around, I thought I would get these up on the blog....

Happy Holidays to you all! - Kelly

Use holiday events for schmoozing with family, friends and acquaintances. You never know who will produce your next job lead. Attend as many events as you can reasonably fit into your calendar. You don't want to be obnoxious about your job search and aggravate friends and relatives. But, do prepare a brief statement that tells people you are looking for a job and the kind of job you seek.

Send holiday cards with your business card enclosed to hiring managers with whom you've recently interviewed. Send one to well-connected friends as well. Source

Create a job searching schedule with at least one item to accomplish every day. Don't get lazy or depressed; keep your spirits up by taking positive action during the entire holiday season. Source

Check the classifieds in your target job searching markets from late November through December. Those employers are still conducting their searches, unless they happened upon a "perfect" candidate. Continue to check the online job boards as well. And, don't forget to check company Web sites if you have selected employers for whom you'd like to work. Source

Check professional association websites for advertised positions. Source

Take seasonal work during the holidays to tide your finances into the New Year. Temporary agencies also see an increase in employer requests as companies struggle to complete annual goals and enable employees to use their vacation time. Source

"The holiday period, or last quarter of the year, is an excellent time to secure a new position," says Kim Batson, a career-management coach with more than 10 years of career coaching experience. "Companies are in a hiring mode October through December -- they want to start the new year with the right talent on board before the first week of January." She adds that because so many people believe it's better to postpone job searching until January, there's less competition during the holidays. Source

Networking at the Work Holiday Event
Whether you're attending an employer-sponsored party or holiday networking event, make the most of social gatherings by planning in advance. "Set a goal to meet, connect with and learn from three to five people at an event," advises Andrea Nierenberg, a New York City-based speaker and trainer and author of Million Dollar Networking. "Do your research before going so you know something about those you might meet."

Beverly Harvey, president of Beverly Harvey Resume & Career Service, stresses the importance of quality versus quantity when networking at holiday events. "Develop several good, solid relationships instead of trying to develop many relationships that won't be valuable," she says.

Conversations should be focused on the person you're speaking with, not you and your job search. That can come later, after trust has been built. "When first introduced to the contact you want to speak with, show genuine interest in their lives, interests and careers," Batson says.

This is also not the time to whip out your resume. "Do not bring resumes to holiday functions," cautions Nierenberg. The goal is to start building rapport and setting the stage for future follow up.

You can, however, give out business cards that relay your career field and areas of expertise. "Job seekers might want to use a business card that states their personal brand, i.e., 'Sally Smith, Human Resource Director, Specialist in Diversity Issues' or 'Tom Taylor, Operations Manager, Global Supply Chain Efficiency Expert,'" says Batson. Source

Follow Up
After an event, send a handwritten, personalized thank-you note to each contact. Include a copy of your resume, if appropriate. Also, because it's a season of gift-giving, it's a nice gesture to send a small gift with your thank-you letter to the most important networking contacts, if it's within your budget. Source

Network Purposefully
The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to people in your network and potential employers. It all starts with relationships -- don't do a mass mailing to everyone.
Take the time to call some people, attend events and parties, and connect with people to discuss job opportunities.

Try to target the decision makers -- it's a very sociable time of the year, and managers are more likely to be receptive to job seekers than at other times of the year.

Create a new resume version for networking contacts who don't necessarily have a job opening. This one-page resume should highlight your most important skills, qualifications and career history, as well as industries or companies of interest.
While this type of resume isn't as targeted as a traditional resume, it allows networking contacts to understand your career field. In addition, listing desired employers and industries may spark your contacts' memories about a related job opportunity or networking lead. Source

Keep Your Network Going
A good tip is to keep in touch and and strengthening your network over time. Find creative ways to stay on someone's radar screen. Set a search engine alert -- research your contacts and their interests, and stay in touch that way.

Continue communicating with your network into the new year. If there's been some change in your status, send an updated resume with a note about your new accomplishment.

You can also implement a method to manage contacts.
It doesn't matter if you're using contact-management software, a spreadsheet, a handwritten chart or an old Rolodex -– do what works for you and keeps you on track with your networking. Source

A few others of my own personal thoughts...

Update your iTrack Profile
Set up a Search Agent in iTrack
Check out potential contacts in the Student-Alumni Network
Check out potential contacts in the UM inCircle Mentoring Program
Bookmark the Employment Sites of your Targeted Organizations
Sign up for 3 Professional Listservs
Join a Professional Organization
Do community service and add it to you resume
Read a book that’s relevant to your targeted job or internship

Posted by kkowatch at December 21, 2007 11:09 AM


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