The holidays are a universally special time. It's a joyous season that includes a lot of family, food and traditions galore. Spirits are high. Festivities are frequent. And smiles are everywhere. It's also a time when most people are putting their work in the backseat for over a month.
But this doesn't have to be the case. And actually, the special nature of the holidays makes for the perfect time to take your career to the next level.
As others hang back, you have the opportunity to leverage this time to get exactly what you want. Is there a connection you've been dying to make? Or a promotion you've been vying for? Or a new career you want to pursue? The holidays are a perfect opportunity to do all of that.
You can enjoy the holidays and create some momentum for your career with these 5 tips:
Instead of rolling your eyes at the 10 holidays parties you have in a two-week time span, shift your mindset to using these gatherings as an opportunity to set the foundation for connections that will advance your career. Identify one or two people of value to you who might be at the party and focus your efforts on engaging with them in some capacity.
And what do you do when you meet them? Kelly Hoey, a speaker, strategist, angel investor and self-proclaimed “super connector," suggests focusing on being a good listener.
“Observe and survey the social dynamic before jumping in. Often we achieve the best networking by saying nothing," she said. When all goes well, and you've left making a meaningful connection with the people you had your eye on, Hoey has one more tip for really wowing them: Follow up. She recommends sending a note with an article or piece of information you think would be valuable based on what you heard in the conversation. Get to holiday party "wow"-ing for the benefit of your career!
Unhappy? Job Hunt
There's no reason to prolong your job happiness just because it's the holidays. "People think things tend to be slow in the hiring world around the holidays. While that may be true, there are also less people job-seeking… so if a company does need to fill an open role, they likely have less candidates in front of them,” says Jaime Petkanics, former J.P. Morgan and Tory Burch recruiter and now founder of the career advising company The Prepary. It's worth identifying jobs you're interested in, because if the position is open, you're likely to have a lot less competition.
Many companies perform end-of-year reviews before the holidays. This is a time that you have the opportunity to shine – sharing your success from the past year while creating momentum along with your manager for the coming year. Make sure you're prepared going into the meeting, not only with your documented successes and strategic questions for improvement, but with what specific things you'll ask for if you receive a glowing review. This is a perfect time to negotiate. Whether that's for a better title, more office benefits like a new laptop, or a meaningful raise, be prepared to negotiate. If that makes your stomach turn just thinking about it, watch this negotiation workshop hosted by yours truly for Levo.
Touch Base with Meaningful Connections
Whether you dominate the snail mail game or send thoughtful digital notes, the holidays give you an opportunity to touch base with people just because. If you're on the job hunt or have been vying to create that killer partnership within your current role, now's the time. “As a new year approaches, a time when budgets are approved and new opportunities open, it's a great time to touch base and you have the perfect excuse… send a holiday card!" says Petkanics. Think about what connections you'd like to build for opportunities in the next year and send them some good vibes. You never know what door it'll open.
Give an Extra 10%
It's hard to have your extra effort noticed when you're a part of the rat race. The holidays are different, though. Because so many people are hanging back and slowing down, if you give an extra 10%, it will surely be noticed by your team and managers. Is there a quick problem that no one is getting done which you can easily take care of one early morning at the office? Or is there someone who needs some coverage during their cross-country holiday travel? Offer to help. Finish a project that would technically be OK to wait on until the new year. It'll go farther than you think to get you noticed and move your career forward.
You don't have to forsake the joy of the holidays in order to boost your career. With a few strategic considerations and thoughtful actions, you'll be able to leverage this special time for the good of your professional journey.
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