Do holiday parties leave you hapless and hopeless? Maybe you’re between jobs and not really feeling the spirit? Don’t despair! With a little preparation and the right attitude, you can turn festive occasions into opportunities for you to meet new allies for your job search. Follow these tips to turn your not-working into effective networking.
Self-assess. Know what job you want; be specific and targeted. Identify companies where you’d like to work and be prepared to mention several organizations’ names. Do not plan to be the “I can do anything” job seeker.
Learn how to introduce yourself. We’ve all heard of the “two-minute elevator speech.”
Research the guest list. It’s always best to be prepared, and when you do a little sleuthing, it’s not difficult to find out who plans to be at the event.
Keep in mind: you want to identify people who could know someone working at your targeted list of companies. Be aware: these networking contacts may come in surprising packages. For example, the neighborhood busy-body probably has all kinds of great contacts. So does the bartender at your neighborhood pub—or the person tending bar at the party you’re attending. Don’t cross anyone off your list of good people to meet.
Create snazzy business cards. Even if you’re not currently working, you should have professional looking business cards that give the recipient easy access to your social media profiles (for example, your LinkedIn URL).
Dress the part. Even if it’s a casual party, make sure to choose something to wear that looks sharp and in style.
Be a listener. Make sure people don’t sense that you have an agenda when you meet them.
Ask for a follow-up meeting. Use your in-person networking time to request another meeting in a quieter location. For example, if you’ve had a great talk, and you think there is potential for you to be able to help each other, say, “I’d love to follow up with you and explore how we may be able to be good resources for each other.
Say thank you—and good bye. Don’t forget your manners. Be sure to thank the party organizer, even if you have to stand around to have an audience.
Keep in touch. Depending on the nature of your interactions at the party, you have a lot of options for following up. For example, if you know a new contact’s daughter is moving to Chicago soon, you can send a nice note with an article about fun things for newcomers to do in the Chicago area.
Read the entire post on my U.S. News & World Report post.
photo by TimmyGUNZ