While the majority of job hunters put the search on hold through the holidays, they’re missing out on golden opportunities to advance themselves. Networking is the way 80 percent of jobs are found, and the holidays are a perfect time to take advantage of networking opportunities. Career transitions specialist Marcia Merrill suggested that holiday networking events are great places to make connections for your job search. Look at local networking sites, the Chamber of Commerce’s holiday gathering, Google networking events, and check the local newspaper for any holiday gatherings appropriate for your interests. All of these gatherings are places you may meet that golden contact that will lead you to a new position. In the meantime, there’s the bonus that you’ll probably get some free food in the bargain. Merrill said that while the economy is tough, people are still getting hired. However, networking becomes more valuable to employers who are hesitant to spend thousands on a job search. They are very likely to interview a candidate who is recommended by someone they know and trust. So don’t pack away the interview suit just because of the impending holidays – make the social events an important part of your job search.