Greetings, In-House counsel friends! I am writing this column on November 1, full of Halloween candy stolen and hidden from my son (shhh!!!), contemplating the upcoming, busy holiday season. I just spoke with an in-house attorney candidate who will be in transition as of the end of this year. He indicated that he planned to relax during the holidays and start his job search in January because “nothing happens and no one is making any hiring decisions during the holidays anyway.” At the risk of being labeled a Scrooge, bah humbug!
It is true that many hiring decisions are delayed during the holidays due in large part to exhausted budgets, candidates waiting for bonuses before making a move, and the difficulty in scheduling interviews and convening the necessary stakeholders to make a final decision. But it is absolutely NOT true that the holidays should be treated like “dead air.” Much can be accomplished to help advance you on your career path during the festivities. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Holiday Cards: Old-fashioned, hard-copy holiday cards are a great way to stay in touch with your network. E-cards are nice (NOT the ones that make a ton of noise!), but you never know when the tactile holiday card that can stay up for weeks in someone’s home or office – within eyesight – will remind someone to think of you for a job, panel, board, article or similar professional opportunity.
2. Holiday Gatherings: Law firms, bar and alumni associations, nonprofit organizations, etc., will all have end-of-year celebrations. You need not attend all of them, of course. But a few carefully chosen opportunities to interact face to face in a warm environment where you can hear about what others have done this year and would like to do next year (and share the same information in return) can nicely further a relationship – but watch your consumption!
3. Holiday Travel: If you are going to be traveling to see relatives or friends during the holidays, and they live in an area where you would be interested in relocating (now or perhaps in the future), use that occasion to schedule a few drinks, lunches, or attend an event or two with local contacts. People are more likely to remember and truly consider you for out-of-town opportunities if you express your interest in their area in person.
4. Reflect and Update: The end of the year is, of course, a natural time for relaxation and recharging your batteries. Use this time to reflect – and take note of – the year’s accomplishments and challenges. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Set goals. Plan the organizations in which you want to get involved and calendar and budget for the events that you would like to attend in the new year.
We once had a candidate interview for an in-house position on Christmas Eve! It ain’t over until it’s over. Use your time wisely and you can set yourself up to have some very happy holidays indeed.
“Real Talk” is a monthly column focusing on career-development issues for in-house counsel. Sonya Som is a partner in Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Chicago office and focuses on strategizing and leading networking, business development and marketing initiatives for our In-House Practice Group team throughout the Midwest. You can follow her on Twitter @sonyaoldssom or connect with her via LinkedIn. Contact her at email@example.com with feedback, questions or column ideas.