Ditch the computer grinch and party

In the process of covering unemployment, I've attended many job search seminars and if there's one thing I learned, the computer, while helpful, can be deadly in a job search. That's because too many people become overly reliant on it and that's not good, especially at this time of year, when the opportunities for networking increase. 

I'm going to crib freely here from a presentation that Sue Kaiden gave in November at Media Presbyterian Church titled "Beyond Linked In: Putting the World Wide Web to Work in Your Career Search. Kaiden is one of the organizers of Joseph's People, a network of church-based support groups for the unemployed in the suburbs. She is also operates CareerEdge LLC, a career counseling business in Media. Nice person, too. 

End of commercial, beginning of tip: It's a given that people get jobs because of whom they know. So, the key is to know people -- meet and mingle, meet and mingle -- and there's no better time to do that than in the holidays. So what would be the worst thing to do? Pull on those bunny slippers and your ratty gym sweats and hunker down in front of the computer sending resumes into the Great Beyond all day and all night. It can easily lead to energy-depleting depression.

That's not to say that the computer doesn't have uses. The main use is research. Research companies, research people, research industry trends so that you know who and what you are trying to find. Not only that, but if you keep up with your industry, you won't sound like an out-of-touch moron if you do get a chance to show your stuff at a party.

So when is the right time to be on the computer? The right time is at night, when businesses are closed and people have retreated to their private lives. The right time is on weekends, for the same reason. But at this time of year, those tips get turned upside down, because when there are weekend parties and nighttime holiday functions, wear something red, stand up straight, take your business cards and go out and meet, mingle. If you feel bad about leaving computer, give it a candy cane and a kiss. It'll be there when you get back.