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networking
December is a great time for finding a new job. As online brand strategist and LinkedIn trainer Anne Pryor writes, companies are generally hiring for the first quarter of the coming year, and because work tends to slow down, there are lots of opportunities for networking. Just think of all those holiday parties coming up. These are chances to get your name out there and land your dream gig. Follow Pryor’s “7 Tips to Networking for a Great Job in December,” and you’ll be that much more likely to start 2015 right.

1. Be Mindful of How You’re Perceived — According to Pryor, most people can be judged using the TUGS assessment. That is, they’re takers, users, givers, or sharers. Before you start networking, think about which of these you are and how you feel about it. How do you want to be perceived by others?

2. Be Clear About What You’re Looking For — What job title are you seeking? Why should any company actually hire you? Think about what you bring to the role you’re seeking, and be ready to explain yourself to people you’re speaking with.

3. Show You’re Trustworthy — After you meet someone at a networking event, follow up in a timely manner with a LinkedIn invitation. This should be personalized. Conversely, if the person sends you an invite, be sure to respond with a personalized message, even if the approach didn’t come with one. Take a look at the individual’s profile and work history and try to draw out personal connections.

4. Look Good Online — Speaking of LinkedIn, make sure you’ve got a great photo on your social media pages, and add new keywords to your profile on a regular basis.

5. Connect With the Right People — Who are the 11 people that have helped you the most over the years? Identify them and make sure you’re connected online. What’s more, Pryor says, you should ask five people to serve as your “board of advisors.” These are folks you can bounce ideas off of and generally go to for sage-like advice.

6. Show Your Credibility — Your LinkedIn profile is more likely to get clicks if you show up in the Publishers section or the homepage, so think about what three things you’d like to be known for, as well as what three things you might like to blog about. “Next we begin curating content, collecting and organizing information from Google Alerts, Newsle, blogs, experts, trade publications, Google+, Twitter, etc.,” Pryor writes. “Then we develop or create their point of view and begin to share it in the appropriate media.”

7. Be Kind, Gracious, and Helpful — At the next networking event, if you see someone sitting alone at a table, introduce yourself with a warm smile and handshake. These things matter.