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Holiday networking is a limited-time-only gift to yourself

Holiday networking is full of big opportunities for you in the job search.  It's like giving yourself a gift.  But you better grab those chances while you can.

Take advantage of the season

The most important thing you've got to remember about networking during the holidays is just to do it.  Reach out.  This IS the time of year when any contact you make will be received positively.  People expect it, so take advantage of it.  Send out cards and emails to EVERYONE.

Reconnect with people you haven't talked to in years 

Think about all possible contacts:  people you used to work with, former bosses, old high school or college buddies, former neighbors, your kid's Little League coach from 10 years ago, everyone.  Send a card or an email.  You have a reason--it's the holidays.  Just say, "Hey, how are you?  I was thinking about you and wanted to say Hi.  What have you been up to?  Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!"  (Or Happy Holidays, or whatever holiday you celebrate right about now.)  You don't have to tell them you're looking for a job.  And you shouldn't, yet.  There will be time to gracefully fit that into the conversation later.

If they respond and they're geographically close to you, invite them to grab lunch or coffee or drinks with you to catch up.   If they're too far away for that, they might ask how you're doing and then you can talk briefly about your job search goal in a positive, upbeat way.  (If that seems difficult, watch my video Be Positive When Explaining Your Unemployment.)

Thank your boss

If you're employed, now is a great time to give your boss a gift or just say "Thank You" without looking like a suck-up.  Bosses like appreciation, too.

Attend holiday parties and events

If you've got a holiday party on your calendar, check out these networking event tips.  Set a goal of a certain number of people to meet, and follow up with them after the party with a nice "It was good to meet you" note.  If you're an introvert, Forbes has a nice article called The Shy Person's Survival Guide to Holiday Networking Events.

Offer help and information to others

Keep in mind the spirit of the season.  If you can think of a way to help someone else out--do it, even if it's as simple as giving them a link to information they might want.  Be a resource for people.  I firmly believe that if you put good things out there, good things will come back to you.