Your next job might be standing right next to you!
Holiday parties and gatherings give you the chance to cross paths with people that you don’t see on a regular basis during the year. If you are in a job search, this is a golden opportunity to establish contacts that could help you find your next job.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you network more effectively at social gatherings:
1) Remember, networking is NOT about asking people if they know of job openings. Networking is about communicating with people you know and asking them for the names of people who they know that might work for companies that have the types of jobs you are looking for.
For example, instead of saying: “Hi Tom, I’m in a job search and I was wondering if you know of any Warehouse Manager jobs available?” Try, “Hi Tom, I am in a job search, and I was wondering if you know of anyone that works for a company that might have a warehouse or shipping/receiving department—such as a manufacturing company, hospital, or a large retailer like Target or Walmart?”
The answer to the first question 99% of the time is NO; however, if you use a true networking approach and restate the question like the second example, you increase your chances of getting a YES… and the names of people who will be able to direct you to people within their company that have information about upcoming jobs.
2) If the people you are networking with have names for you but no contact information on the spot, be respectful of their time and don’t make them dig through their cell phone or call someone on the spot. Instead, tell them that you will follow up with them during the next business day and return to enjoying yourself at your holiday gathering. But, be diligent and actually follow up on Monday. You could also take it a step further and invite them to be a LinkedIn connection!
3) Remember to return the favor—ask them if you can introduce them to anyone at the function or maybe even offer to refill their drink.
4) Bring business cards! This way if someone thinks of someone that could help you—they can simply call or email you.
If you follow these tips, I think you will you find that you will have success networking at social functions and, hopefully, will be able to turn those networking contacts into interviews—and A NEW JOB!