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Black Girls Guide to Networking

The holiday season is a great time to network with others. Although you may think it's more important to spend time with family and friends, a holiday job search can benefit you greatly in the long run. If you're hoping for a holiday miracle, chances are you don't have job leads on speed dial. However, there are a few things you can do over the holidays to help yourself look more attractive to potential employers and opportunities. Here are seven tips to help you take advantage of the season to expand your network and foster a good job leads all year long:

  • Accept all invitations When you get invited to a holiday gathering, whether it's a department happy hour, the company holiday party, or even dinner at a mutual's place, just go for it. The best way to find new connections — and strengthen your current ones — is to get out and spend time with them in an informal setting. Saying yes is just the first step.

  • Be natural & conversational Consider approaching those who are higher up in the company, who work in an area where you'd like to work, who do work that interests you, or those who can support you in advancing your career, such as a potential mentor.

  • Use your elevator pitch Always be ready with an elevator speech (which should really be more of a positioning statement), even at a holiday party. When someone asks about what you do, be specific and clear.

  • Share your social decide which social media platform is best to connect with people on. Depending on your profession, LinkedIn may be the place to connect. Make sure your profiles and website is up-to-date prior to the party.

  • Listen first, speak after When you introduce yourself — be sure to ask questions and listen. People like to talk about themselves, and they appreciate it when people listen. Active listening can be rare, so people often take notice when they truly feel heard, which means you could leave a lasting impression with this strategy.

  • Plan to follow up with them the week after the party or after the holidays if they'll be out of the office. Send a simple email letting them know it was great to meet them and that you look forward to connecting again soon. Keep it short and to the point.

  • Dress to impress while keeping your attire simple, chic, and appropriate. You don't want your attire to be distracting because it's out of place, see-through, or shows too much skin for a holiday party.

Don't wait until next year

Don't wait for New Year's to make your networking resolutions. Some of your best opportunities are during the holiday season itself. Take a breath, say yes, get in the spirit, and give your career the gift it really wants this year. Hopefully, you'll make some great new connections and have fun doing it!

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