Sometimes your job hunt needs a little magic, along with social media, a strong reputation and talent-building strategies.
So, you’ll be glad to learn that the week between Christmas and New Year’s – this year, perhaps extending through January 4 – has been dubbed “magic week,” by author and former exec Nan Russell. It’s a marvelous time to connect or reconnect with key people and even to land a job for January.
Russell first experienced this while working as an executive at QVC, the multi-billion dollar television shopping channel. “You were happy to connect with people,” Russell recalled, as the pace of work slowed and the holiday glow lingered on. So, she started reaching out to key clients and “found it to be extremely successful.”
Then she started accepting a few invitations for coffee or a brief conversation with people looking to join QVC. “You have time – this one week only,” she said.
These days, Russell works as a professional speaker, workplace consultant and writer of two columns. She’s published three books, including The Titleless Leader. She suggested her ‘magic week’ idea in the new ebook called New Year, New Job! 101 Top Tips from Job-Hunt Experts for Your Holiday Job Search: How to Use the Holidays to Advance Your Job Search, produced by Job-Hunt.org’s Susan Joyce and others. That’s where I spotted it, realized its value – and included it briefly in my blog post on holiday search tips.
Yet I knew there was more to making the most of magic week than Russell could include in the New Year, New Job ebook, so I reached out to her. Here’s her excellent advice:
1. Do your homework. Figure out whether the person you want to meet may respond best to being contacted via Twitter, email or phone. “Whatever it is you think the person will respond to, use that,” said Russell. Then also find out who the hiring manager’s lieutenant is and who else is on their team since they may be around even if the top decision-maker is basking on a beach in the Caribbean.
2. Suggest a 10 minute meeting. Don’t ask for 30 minutes or a breakfast or lunch, unless you already know the person. And “don’t push too hard” for a meeting, said Russell. Many people will say no and ignore you if you are too aggressive. Sometimes they will say no anyway because they want to savor the magic of the week with people they already know or set up projects for the year ahead. In that case, consider making your pitch by phone or email.
3. Know what you want. “Why are you doing it? What are you pitching? You need to know what you want to walk away with,” said Russell. “One thing is permission to stay in contact. You have a built-in relationship that other people don’t” that could be valuable to both. Think through your goal for the conversation or meeting because people who do not seem annoying, she said.
4. Be memorable. This does not mean dressing up like an angel or a decked-out Christmas tree for your meeting. It could mean bringing in a dozen homemade cookies for the people you’re meeting. And it definitely means creating a positive association. Be seen as a resource to the person you’re meeting. Sometimes job seekers get that backwards; they think they’re there seeking help with their search. But it’s far better and more powerful, Russell said, to come in and “be really clear about how you may be able to help the other person” with an upcoming project or issue.
5. Reconnect with old friends and colleagues. “Reach some people who may have been good coworkers and networkers to you in the past,” she said. “Those can be very powerful reconnections” and are the ones to invite out to lunch or for appetizers or small plates after work.
Those magic week meetings at QVC were fruitful, at least for some. Russell recalls meeting some people with skills or attitudes that impressed her so she forwarded along their resume to others within the company. A few landed jobs or temporary assignments as a result of their magic week conversations.
If you believe in magic and the joy of holiday connections, start planning your own magic week connections with dream employers and must-know managers.