Easy ways to network during the holiday season (and possibly land a job)

By Hillary Mantis

“No one hires over the holidays, right?” Jeff, an anxious student sat in my office, worried about his job search. “Should I quit looking until January?” he asked, sighing as he sipped his coffee.

If you think there are no job possibilities during the holidays, think again. The holidays can still be a good time to look. Every year I hear stories about people who received job offers during the holidays. I’m sure you want to concentrate on finals, and celebrate the end of the semester. But there are some easy, painless ways to keep your job search going during the holiday season.

Keep Checking the Job Listings:
Many students stop checking the job sites over the holidays. Sure, there are fewer listings. But, if not too many people are checking, there will be less competition for the jobs that are open. Some organizations also may receive funding for 2014, and might be interviewing at the end of this year.

Set Up Meetings With Alumni in your Hometown:
Busy lawyers might not be quite as busy during the holidays. They may have more time to have coffee with you. If you set up networking meetings with alumni in your hometown over break, it might lead to a future job. Check out your law school’s alumni directory, LinkedIn page, and www.martindale.com to locate alumni near you. A simple email, letting them know when you will be in town, and asking for a brief meeting, is enough.

Socialize:
You might feel guilty taking time from your studies to go out until exams are over. But if you need a study break anyway, it’s a great time of year to attend events. If exams are over, it’s definitely time to go out and celebrate. Go to your law school’s holiday party. Lots of alumni will be there. If you can, attend the holiday party for your undergraduate school. Local bar associations also often have holiday parties that students can attend. Even regular social events, such as weddings, holiday parties and family get togethers can actually be a great source of job leads. You just never know.

Build Your On-line Presence in Less than a Day:
Your school break is probably several weeks long. One day, while you are hanging around the house, you could build your on-line presence and knowledge of the job market. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one. If you do, join some new groups, such as the one for your law school, undergrad, and bar associations. Subscribe to legal publications online that give you free weekly updates — by reading about which firms that are merging, the economic forecast, and the legal news. You will learn about employers who are expanding, and practice areas that are busy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to come back to school next semester with a new job or internship lined up? Hopefully, utilizing some easy networking strategies now, could lead to a job offer in 2014.

Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students and lawyers. She a Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University, and author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers,  and co- author of Jobs for Lawyers: Effective Techniques for Getting Hired in Today’s Legal Marketplace. You can reach Hillary at altcareer@aol.com

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