With the holidays approaching us, it’s time to think about how to best utilize your invitations to the holiday parties in your job search or quest for a more fulfilling career! I have said this many times, the best way to get a job in this stalled economy is by networking. Introductions to people at companies are essential to help you transition to a new career. So, don’t waste these party invitations.
Be prepared before you attend these parties. Also, make sure you are on the party list of some of your friends and business associates who may overlook you. Networking at parties is “like being a child in a candy store”, with so many opportunities you don’t want to miss!
Cocktail parties are one of the best methods to network with people you typically would not have an opportunity to meet. It's a comfortable setting, where people that attend are more poised to share ideas and engage in conversation. By being invited to the cocktail party, it is an indication that you are "part of a group" and therefore, levels the playing field. In fact, this is the best way your friends and associates can help you in your career and job search.
So what do you do when you attend these cocktail parties? Here are some useful tips for you to consider:
- First of all, make sure to dress appropriately for the crowd. You want to be well-coifed, but also fit into the party.
- Get a list of guests from the host before hand, so you have some idea of who's attending and can do some research on them beforehand. People love to talk about themselves, so the more information you have, the more likely they will respond to you.
- Target a few people that you must meet. Talk to as many people as possible at the event, but make sure to make a real connection, so they remember you.
- Don't forget to bring your contact cards. Be prepared to give a short synopsis on who you are, what you do and what your goals are. People remember others that are clear in their delivery.
- Don't drink too much; a few glasses of wine, tops.
- Follow up with those you have met within a couple of days after the party. Suggest having coffee with those that you feel are the most helpful or interesting.
Building relationships is an art. Every step is important and sincerity is key. Never ask anyone at the party for a job. Lastly, take a deep breath and relax and smile. People like to be with others that are open, adventurous and fun. Good luck and keep me posted!