The holidays are a busy time for most, but that doesn’t mean you should put online networking on the backburner–particularly if you’d like to start the New Year out with a new job.

Wondering how to leverage social media during the holidays? Check out these eight tips:

Job Seekers Should Build Their Personal Brand Online

Job seekers should actively build their online personal brand to better present themselves to potential employers and recruiters. Job seekers should actively participate in blogging, forum discussions, Twitter chats, and have strong professional social media profiles packed with keywords.

— Mark Lesiw, Careerleaf

Use Social Media to Connect With Dream Companies

Instead of putting together a wishlist of presents this holiday season, put together a list of top employers you would love to work for. Then, utilize social media to connect with these companies in a personal way. Add to discussions, search for jobs, and direct employers to your traditional or video resume. Use social media to target your job search in order to find your dream job by the time the New Year rings in 2013.

— Josh Tolan, Spark Hire

Build Relationships in Online Chats and Discussions

Engage recruiters and HR professionals in different HR chats by joining different discussions; not only will you become more informed about opportunities in your industry, but you will find that you can also quickly build personal relationships.

— Joanna Riley Weidenmiller, 1-Page Proposal

Reconnect With Professional Contacts on Social Media

Social media provides an avenue for reaching out to professional contacts in a friendly way during the holidays–especially people who are not on your Christmas card list. Try sending a short note on a social media site inquiring about how your contact is doing, sharing your news and current objectives, and expressing holiday sentiments. This will often lead to your contact offering to help you.

— Kelly Donovan, Kelly Donovan & Associates

Find Connections and Get the Word Out Online

Use social networks to reinforce and expand your reach. Make a list of the companies you’re most interested in and use LinkedIn to see if you have any connections at your target companies. Use Facebook and/or Twitter to get the word out about your job search. However, if you’re currently employed, err on the side of caution to keep your current job intact.

— Tony Lee,

Share Seasons Greetings and Industry Information

According to the Career Advisory Board’s Job Preparedness Indicator research, 70 percent of job seekers and 60 percent of hiring managers believe that being able to use social media effectively on the job is an essential skill for employees today. During the holidays, hone this skill by exchanging a mix of seasons greetings and useful information in industry-specific social forums, and by using online contact as a jumping off point to warm, in-person interactions.

— Alex Levit, Career Advisory Board

Clean Up Your Online Presence For Future Job Opportunities

Excluding seasonal employment, most employers are not focused on building their staff once the holiday season starts. Job seekers should focus their efforts during this time on improving the quality of the materials employers are likely to see such as Facebook pages and LinkedIn accounts. Make sure everything that might be Googled will present you positively.

— Edward F. Harold, Fisher & Phillips

Increase your Net Worth by Increasing Your Network

A very well networked man once told me, “Your network equals your net worth.” Owning a staffing firm, I have found this to be very accurate. Networking is one of the best ways to find a new position, as 80 percent of jobs are found through word of mouth. I recommend connecting with an individual within 24 hours after meeting them at a party via one of your primary social media accounts. This shows enthusiasm and good follow-up skills. Your social media accounts will keep you connected to them even after the holidays are over!

— Jennifer Hill, JHill’s Staffing Services