Now that we’ve entered December, candidates have many job search networking opportunities courtesy of the vast number of holiday parties. Even if you’re new to a town, in just about every metro area there will be an open holiday party nearly every night until Christmas eve.
Check out local networking organizations, industry organizations, Linkedin groups for your area to find a broad selection of networking opportunities for your job search, especially during December.
Holiday parties can be a great way to build or renew networking contacts and help your job search. Unfortunately, many candidates do themselves more harm than good by harming their reputation from one of these 10 networking fails.
Here’s how to avoid some common holiday party networking no-no’s, just in time for the holidays…
- It’s a party, not an interview: News Flash – There’s a difference between a holiday party and an interview. Too often job seekers use the opportunity of a holiday party to launch right into their elevator pitch – Bad Move. Instead, use the time to build or renew your relationship. If you want to follow up, call after the party and schedule a time to learn more about their company. If the other person asks you about your job search, suggest you contact them to set up a time to talk about it further…not at the party.
- Listen up! Spend twice as much time listening than talking. Many candidates (especially when alcohol is added to the festivities) talk when they could gain more value from listening. Ask questions, learn about the other persons’ interests…and shut up. You’ll build a better relationship and find more ways to help if you let the other person do the talking. Learn what specific networking techniques can help you listen, and what to avoid at http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/04/08/does-your-job-search-strategy-include-more-listening-or-talking/.
- Don’t ask for help: Instead, find ways to help the person you’re talking to. If you are successful in helping someone, they usually offer help you in return and they are more likely to follow through. Find out about charities, social causes, interests, hobbies, the other person’s business – think of ways to help. Don’t give suggestions, names, or connection information at the party – don’t you want a reason to schedule a meeting? Plus, who remembers detail from a party, that’s noisy and alcohol infused?
- Don’t glom: Rather than glom on to one person or group all night, talk to many. Once you’ve asked the other person enough questions, listened to them, found out how you can help…move on. There’s a bathroom or more food calling your name. Read more about the dangers of being a networking glommer at http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/02/09/how-job-seekers-can-destroy-networking-goodwill-by-cyber-glomming/.
- Talk to people outside your industry: If you’re in tech, find non-technology people to talk to. This helps you differentiate yourself more effectively than if you only spend your time with people in your industry. Best yet – talk to people you don’t already know … make it your goal to meet at least one new person at each holiday party.
- Resumes don’t mix with holiday parties Never, Never, Never bring your resume to a holiday party. Always bring business cards, with your Linkedin profile on the card, plus the URLs of your blog, your digital profile, and online resume. You’re at a party not an interview, paper resumes get lost, and most companies want digital resumes.
- Take notes ASAP: As soon as you leave the party, either in your car or right when you get home, write down who you talked to what you talked about, interests, and how you can help. Enter these into whatever personal contact manager you use.
- Follow-up: Don’t forget to send a follow up, even if it’s just an email saying nice to meet you, nice to see you again, make contact. Don’t tell the story of your job search in your email. Instead, in your signature block, include a link to your Linkedin profile, online resume, Resublog, or online portfolio. You can ask for a meeting or coffee, but make it because you have a suggestion that will help them, rather than asking for help.
- Boring Fails: Don’t be a bore – make the other person laugh.
- Downers Fail: At a party, even your Mom won’t want to listen to your job loss, spouse left you, truck won’t start, dog died, country music-style sob story. Don’t dump your job search on the world – Be Positive!
Even though it’s a party not an interview, carry yourself in the same way you would in an interview. You are forming impressions. People won’t refer you if they feel it will reflect poorly on themselves, and spilling red wine on your shirt probably isn’t the impression you want to make.
‘Tis the season to network – Happy and successful networking to all!
Readers – Any other networking Fails or horror stories? Please comment and share.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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