Holiday Career NetworkingJob searchers frequently make a major mistake during the holiday season, they stop looking for their next position. That’s a big blunder for two reason: first, companies DO continue to hire this time of year and second, it’s a great time to be networking and building relationships.

Networking is one of the most important tools in your job search. As is often said, it’s not what you know it’s who you know. To expand on that proverb, it’s who you know that gets you in the door and what you know that keeps you there.

‘Tis the season for holiday parties. What a great opportunity to reconnect with people, to find out how they’re doing and let them know what you’ve been up to. Reconnecting with colleagues, old friends and acquaintances is one of the best things you can do to land that plum position you’ve been pursuing or to uncover new and interesting opportunities.

Schmoozing at holiday parties is just one way of taking advantage of the holiday season, another is setting up coffee or lunch dates with people. As things slow down and shopping picks up, people are out and about and more accessible. Taking a breather from the holiday rush to sit down over a cup of coffee with an old friend can be a welcome break.

The thing to remember about networking is it’s about building relationships, having meaningful interactions and not just asking your contacts if they know of any job openings. You want to have a two-way discussion, engaging them on topics that are meaningful to them as well as to you. You want to think to yourself, “what’s in it for them . . .  how can I assist them” while at the same time giving them information on ways they can be helpful to you.

People do like to help others and sometimes it’s just a matter of helping them help you. Having some targeted companies you’d like to approach or people you’d like to meet and asking your contact for the introduction can be the first step on the road to your successful career transition.

So remember, if you don’t schmooze, you lose. By enjoying the holidays and the people in your life, you can make this holiday season a happy and productive one. So get out there with bells on and jingle while you mingle.