Tis the season. Holiday season begins this week with Thanksgiving. I love this time of the year and the traditions it brings. Particularly those that involve food, family and naps. I can smell the turkey roasting for our upcoming Thanksgiving feast. Admittedly, one reason I like to host is for the leftovers. Turkey. Cranberry Sauce. Potatoes. Okay, I digress. Back to reality!
Holiday time is also the perfect time for networking. Many people assume networking stops when the holidays begin. Not so! Holiday parties at work, happy hours with your old college roommates, neighborhood gatherings, programs at your kid’s school. Every event is an opportunity to network!
Check out these tips to get a leg up on networking during this holiday season:
- Prepare to Network– before you head to your first event, you need to prepare. Spend some time and write down the following:
- Your Objective- What work you are currently doing and what kind of work you want to do next
- Core Message-what will you say about yourself when networking and what do you want to share with others (think elevator pitch)
- Update Social Media- Make sure your LinkedIn page is current and reflects your brand statement
- Take Advantage of all Opportunities- think about who might be at certain events. Can cousin Sally, who works at a law firm, help you? You never know. The key thing about networking is you never know who knows who.
A few months ago, I happen to be talking to a women who had recently lost her job. We were discussing networking and she was afraid at the prospect of talking to people she didn’t know. I asked her to practice with me. As she explained what type of job and the specific company she was hoping to work at, I looked at her with a smile. I told her that my friend not only worked at that company but was in the specific role she was eyeing. I agreed to connect them and the rest they say is history!
- Communication is a Two Way Street– share what you are looking for. Is it a new job, new connections, referrals, etc. If you are looking for a job, be ready to share what kind of work you want to do, what you would bring to a company, and the type of company you are looking to connect to.
In addition, be an active listener. Listen to what people are saying, the advice that is given or places you should aim your search.
- Dress Appropriately – Know your audience. If it’s a work event, dress accordingly. If it’s at your neighbor’s house, not showing up in business attire should be a no brainer right?
- Keep Drinking to a Minimum– Whenever there is the potential to meet someone who could be a reference, you want to put your best foot forward. Your brand and how you want people to think of you after you leave the event should be priority.
Have you ever been to a networking event where there was ‘that’ person? You don’t want to be one of them.
- Stay in Touch- connect on LinkedIn. Follow up on any tips, suggestions or ideas they may have shared. Set up time to formally network where you can offer to reciprocate. Keep this relationship going long after the New Year!
With a bit of planning, this holiday season can be a memorable one for your career. While others are off their game, you can be on top of yours and just might set yourself up for success in 2015!
Need career or personal development support? I am offering discounts on individual coaching services through 12/31/14. Now is the perfect time to start planning for your dream job! Spots are limited. Contact me today!
To your growth, development and amazing potential,
Career Development Coach