Whether you’re in school, job hunting or seeking to advance your career, the holidays bring unique challenges and opportunities. Rather than putting career development activities on hiatus during the holidays, you should leverage this time of year to your career advantage. Here are five ways to use the holidays to boost your career.
Office parties, gift exchanges and other get-togethers provide plenty of reasons to mingle at the holidays. You can leverage these seasonal soirees to network, meet new people and build relationships. Select the events you attend carefully, focus on cultivating relationships rather than consuming food or alcohol, and follow up with the contacts you have made after the holidays are over.
Manage Your Time
Gift-purchasing, card-sending and holiday events place extra demands on your time during the holiday season. For many legal professionals the holidays are busier at work as well. For example, those who practice in transactional areas such as corporate law and municipal finance might feel pressure to close deals by the end of the year. Law students and other legal students are swamped with year-end exams.
If the holidays put you in overdrive, simple time management skills can help. Avoid procrastination and try to accomplish as much as you can before the holiday season hits. Prioritize tasks, create checklists, stay organized and delegate when possible.
The holidays provide more volunteer and pro bono opportunities than any other time of the year. While volunteering may help you get in the spirit of giving, it can also benefit you professionally. Volunteering can help you expand your network, make contacts, gain new skills, build your resume and meet law firm pro bono quotas. Pro bono work can also yield less tangible rewards such as personal satisfaction and professional recognition.
Spread Good Will
The holidays provide a good excuse to connect with others and strengthen relationships. In these challenging economic times, expensive gifts and lavish dinners may not be in the budget. However, you can still connect with peers, reward employees and show client appreciation through a simple card, handwritten note or thoughtful e-mail.
Use Time off Wisely
Many employees take time off for the holidays. In addition to spending time with friends and family, you can use this down time to boost your career. Students can jumpstart the search for summer clerkships or internships, set up informational interviews or begin next semester’s reading. Job seekers can perfect their resume, practice interview skills and expand their social media presence. Practicing legal professionals can network and get caught up on projects that have been placed on the back burner.
The holidays are a great time to rest, relax and enjoy the company of friends and family. However, don’t forget to leverage the holidays to boost your career.