The holidays bring myriad opportunities for connecting with others: from casual encounters to formal events. Enjoying the season and connecting with one another should be foremost on everyone’s mind; but — especially if you are job-hunting or thinking about a career or job change — the holidays can be a great time for networking opportunities, too.
Here are our suggestions on how to get the most out of holiday-time socializing (while still having a good time and not annoying your family and friends!):
Before the party, especially if you know who may be in attendance, think about who there would be a good contact to make — and which mutual friend could introduce you. Also:
- be ready with your elevator pitch — clearly and concisely describe what you do and why you are passionate about it
- have business cards handy, for when you are asked for one; but don’t hand them out like Santa passing out candy canes
- dress appropriately for the event, but keep a professional look top priority
- have some questions in mind to get a conversation with a new person going (tongue-tied when it comes to small talk? read our socializing tips for introverts article here)
At the party, don’t make it all business. Add something to the event so you will be invited back again next year! Plus, you never know when a non-work-related conversation can take a turn and create an important work connection. Remember to:
- show up with a positive attitude — if you are feeling forced to be there or uninterested in who else is there, others will quickly pick up on that
- be selective about when and to whom you give your business card
- talk about something besides business; relax and focus on getting to know new people
- listen as much, or more, than you talk
- don’t just hang out with the people you know — mingle!
- have fun, but know your alcohol limit — you don’t want to be remembered as “that guy” at the party
After the party, say thank you to the host or hostess before you walk out the door. Follow up with a “thanks again” email or handwritten note the next day. Hosting an event is no small feat — show your appreciation for their work and for including you.
The holidays can be a fantastic time of year to continue building your relationships, professional and other. Remember the main point of the events — to have fun and socialize — but don’t hesitate to work in a little appropriate networking, as well. Happy Holidays!