The holiday season is an excellent time to network with others at holiday parties and gatherings, whether you’re intending to stay in the same industry/position or you’re transitioning elsewhere.
However, it’s important to know and adhere to the appropriate etiquette to make certain your networking is as effective as possible, rather than off putting.
Networking Advice to Help You Succeed
1. Don’t work at networking as though the party is your last chance to connect with someone who can help you get a job or advance in your career. In other words, don’t let them see you sweat. A holiday party is not the place to talk exclusively about business. Nor is it the time to get in anyone’s face and beg them to help you. Everyone’s there to have fun. If you behave clingy or desperate, you’ll be avoided.
2. Connect to people on a human, emotional level first, rather than on a business level. Find out who they are as people. Explore like interests. If you connect with someone on more than a superficial level, they’ll be more likely to open up to you and offer help, when the right time comes. The right time isn’t at the party. It’s afterwards, after you’ve formed a bond with the individual.
3. Don’t be selfish. Give back. No one likes the feeling of being used. If you’re networking at the party thinking that your goals, your dreams, your desires are all that matter, you’ll get nowhere. We’ve all heard the old advice – it’s better to give than to receive. In the case of networking, you’ll reap the rewards if you are the giving kind. People gravitate toward individuals who are willing to listen to and help them. This is the surest way to form a bond with someone you’ll be able to count on in the future.
4. Have fun. It may be hard if you’re worried about landing a job or keeping a job. However, a few hours of good conversation and food will most likely put your worries into the proper perspective. When you loosen up you’ll appear more approachable and likable, which will aid your networking.
5. Be prepared. Even before you go to all the holiday parties, make certain you have an up-to-date resume that you can email to new acquaintances should they ask for it. You certainly don’t want weeks to pass while you toil over writing the document. In that period of time, you’ve lost the momentum of the bond you’ve made with the other individual.
Whether you’re employed or still looking, it’s always wise to keep an updated resume on hand, along with a cover letter and a social media profile, such as LinkedIn. In fact, one of the easiest ways to network is posting your LinkedIn profile.
One more thing: the holidays don’t last forever, so use them wisely to make your move toward your new career goals.