Using the Holidays to Get Ahead in Networking

This article is powered by the SMU Sport Management Program.

By: Dawon Baker, @dawonbbaker

As 2016 comes to a close, get ready to crush 2017 wuth these helpful networking tips. Image via theinfiniteactuary.com

As 2016 comes to a close, get ready to crush 2017 wuth these helpful networking tips. Image via theinfiniteactuary.com

It’s the holiday season and if you’re fortunate enough to have some type of holiday break, this is the perfect opportunity to help advance your career by further connecting with your colleagues. The holiday season is the perfect time to reconnect with people you have met during the past year, or just reach out to new colleagues, connections, and new people you’d like to connect with. Here are some helpful tips that are sure to set you up for networking success in 2017 and beyond.

Emails:

If you are a frequent email-er, you can reconnect with all of the colleagues you met this year with a simple email. Be sure to search all of your email platforms for messages and contacts you’ve acquired in the New Year, and send them a simple thank you email. There are many ways to do this, but an example would be:

John,
 It was a pleasure to meet you this past year at the NACDA conference this past summer in Dallas. We connected after your session about networking, and chatted a few weeks later about the things you are working on at your office. How has the project been since we last spoke? I’d love to catch up with you sometime soon. I just finished the Fall semester at the University of Central Florida, and would love to update you on the things I have going on my end. I hope you had a great holiday season, and I’m thankful we got the chance to connect in 2016. Let’s continue to stay connected in 2017. I hope you have a prosperous New Year and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Best,
Dawon.

Be sure to always re-state how and when you met the individual, and make the email/note personalized. People do not like stock emails, nor do they like emails addressed to someone else & is mistakenly sent to them, be sure to proofread and individualize each email.

It may also be wise to let people know of your current position, school, etc. You never know how this may spark someone’s interest, and it just may be helpful, especially if you’re a recent graduate, looking for a new position, or if you’re transitioning.

A handwritten note always goes a long way. Image via Dawon Baker

A handwritten note always goes a long way. Image via Dawon Baker

Personal/handwritten notes:

Personal/handwritten notes are a great way to reconnect as well. If you have trouble finding someone’s contact information, you can ask him or her if they are ok with you sending a note to an address of their choice, or you can use your resources and see if you can find an address for their specific organization. Be sure to ask them to email/reach out to you in the thank you card to make sure they receive it.  If you need some thank you cards for cheap, check out this link. $16 for 100 cards should last you for a while, and it’s a great investment!

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is a great tool to get ahead. Be sure to message/reach out to anyone you connected to in the past year. Also, be sure to join our Front Office Sports Group! A little trick to stay relevant on LinkedIn, if you update something on your page every time you log in, you will be seen more often on the home page to your connections. Try this out in the New Year and see your page views go up!

Identify Key Goals:

Take some time to identify goals you’d like to reach this upcoming year. This could be a great point of discussion with some of the colleagues you reach out to, especially those who serve as a mentor type role to you. What are good things to accomplish/good benchmarks at this point of your career? Identify some key things, write them down, and get after it!
 

Read!

Books like Will's, can help you get in the right mindset for 2017. Image via Will Baggett

Books like Will's, can help you get in the right mindset for 2017. Image via Will Baggett

Reading is a great habit to get into, especially when you are wanting to learn more about your industry, or just want to improve yourself. Take some time to ask some people what their favorite books are. Our very own Will Baggett has a great book about entry-level development that is definitely a good start for the up-and-coming professional.

 

Get Active!

@YPSportsChat has a weekly twitter chat, Tuesdays 9PM EST. Image via Dawon Baker

@YPSportsChat has a weekly twitter chat, Tuesdays 9PM EST. Image via Dawon Baker

Another way to help build your career is becoming active online. With an extended break, you can identify some outlets, blogs, twitter pages, or websites you’d like to explore more this upcoming year. One of my personal favorites, @YPsportschat, is a good one to start. Keeping with the trend with reading, here is an example of their weekly twitter chat that is open to all, Tuesday nights, 9pm EST.


Final tip: Be ready and be AUTHENTIC.

There are a lot of things that can be done to prepare yourself to further advance your career, but the number one thing starts with being ready for opportunities, and keeping yourself prepared for opportunities that will come ahead. Be aware that timing is important, but sometimes, you have to say yes first, and figure it out while you’re getting it done. Be open to the opportunities that will flow your way in 2017. In 2017, be authentic. Be your you-est you and make sure that people know you, genuinely. That is the best advice we can give. If you can be true to yourself, while maintaining these tips, you’ll set yourself up for a successful 2017. 

Dawon Baker was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and serves as a feature writer for Front Office Sports. A graduate of the University of Missouri (Mizzou), he was a track and field student-athlete and a former Mizzou Athletics intern and employee. He’s been a published research author, and went on to graduate from the University of Missouri and go on to the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management Program. Dawon graduated from the program in December 2016, and will work as an NCAA Postgraduate Intern in Leadership Development starting in June 2017. Dawon’s career interest include student-athlete development, player development, diversity and inclusion, and higher education. 

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