Have you received any invitations to holiday parties this year? Don’t turn them down! Use these social gatherings as a networking opportunity.
Job searching during the holiday months can be slow and painful, but if you think creatively, you can increase your chances of finding a job before the snow melts. We’re not suggesting you barge into a holiday party and announce you’re looking for a job; that would be inappropriate. But we also don’t want you to miss out on an unforeseen opportunity.
Utilize the following holiday networking tips to help you land a job before the New Year:
Practice your introduction. Making a positive first impression is crucial. Practice makes perfect, so figure out a simple and clear way to introduce yourself before you get to the party. A short sound bite will get the conversation going and interest people in what you do.
Take notes. Carry a small notebook in your pocket or write notes on business cards to help you remember names, and important conversation points you had with key people who might be able to help you find a new job. If you get any business cards, your notes will help you start a conversation when you make a call after the holidays.
Don’t ask for a job, ask for advice. You don’t want to be that person who goes to holiday parties and begs everyone in the room for a job. But, what you can do is let people know you’re looking for a job and ask for advice in a particular industry or specialty. People love helping others when asked, so you might get more assistance than you planned.
Focus on the person you’re talking with. Rather than focusing on yourself and your job search, focus the conversation on the person you’re talking with. Pay attention to building trust by showing you’re interested in what the other person has to say and save the conversation about your dream job for another day.
Don’t bring your resume. Holiday parties are not the place to bring a stack of resumes. However, a business card is appropriate. If you meet with someone who appears to be interested in what you do, offer him a business card.
Find decision makers. If you’re going to a large event, focus your energy on the people who make hiring decisions. Don’t be rude or ignore others who can’t help you, but spend a majority of your time with people who can make a difference in helping you find a job.
Follow up. After the party, follow up with the people you connected with. You took notes, so use those as points to start a conversation. Arrange lunches and business meetings after the holidays, and you just might have a new job in the New Year.
Have you used a holiday function to network for a job? How did it go? What do’s and don’ts would you share with fellow job hunters?
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