November, December: Key Months for Job Hunting

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business networkingNovember and December are the best of job hunting times.

That's because you encounter lots of people outside your industry, ranging from family and friends to Joe in the deli you give a few bucks to tor the holidays, and Emily, the neighbor who works at a local corporation. Those outside your usual circle of professional contacts are what network experts call weak ties. Decades ago, "six degrees of separation" researcher Mark Granovetter found that the lion's share of jobs came through those casual acquaintances.

There are two reasons why.

First: Those not associated with your field know of opportunities that the usual suspects don't. For example, Joe in the deli found out Peter the leasing agent was fired because he stopped coming in for coffee. That information may still be under wraps in the industry.

Second: Outsiders don't pigeonhole you like your own colleagues might for one type of work. They might not see the part of you, the telemarketer, who could perform leasing tasks. Joe does. Think about this too: Joe isn't in competition with you.

The trick is to smoothly let the weak ties know you're looking for work and that you are open to venturing beyond your usual professional comfort zone. Reinforce several times that you welcome trying out fresh career paths. Also, tell them how important they are to your search for employment. They might feel so needed that they will recruit others to also be on the lookout for job opportunities for you.

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