‘Tis the season to be jolly, but sometimes that can be hard if you’re stressing about finding a job. Fortunately, the holiday season is a time of social gatherings and opportunities for networking so you won’t lose momentum during your job search.
Networking is about building relationships, and you can take advantage of this festive time of year to do some mingling and uncover some new job opportunities.
It’s also important to note that while you want to use your time socializing to make some new connections, you should also take into account the following tips so you’re presenting your best impression and not setting yourself up for networking blunders that could compromise any promising next steps.
Increase your chances for new job leads by taking into account the following dos and don’ts (click here to tweet this list):
1. DO Have a Plan
When you go to holiday gatherings and networking events, set goals for how many people you’re going to talk to. This doesn’t mean you have to or need to talk to everyone. It’s better to have four to six meaningful conversations than 20 insignificant introductions.
2. DO Have a Memorable Action Statement
Be prepared when someone asks you what you do. If you’re seeking a job, you can say that, but you should also be specific about mentioning the type of job you’re looking for and the skills you bring to the table.
What makes you different than everyone else who may be looking for a similar job? This helps people to be able to help you and provide the right referrals for you.
3. DON’T Ask for a Job
You’re building and cultivating relationships. People have to get to know you so they feel comfortable making a referral or recommendation. You have to earn that right through making meaningful connections first.
4. DO Use This as an Opportunity to Ask for Advice
Use your time networking to gain some useful information about the types of companies you’re interested in working for or companies that may be interested in your skill set. You can receive informal and valuable feedback about how you can position yourself at these target companies.
5. DO Have a Follow-Up Strategy in Place
For the people with whom you had more personal conversations, send a note and follow up with phone calls and/or a meeting where it makes sense. Keep in touch after the holidays, and always mention something about any prior conversations to jog their memory.
6. DON’T Send a Blanket Follow-Up Note
Write down details about your conversation on any business cards you receive or on a small notepad so you can refer to these details in your follow-up correspondence.
7. DO Connect with Those You Meet on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a business network, and you should use this tool to build your network. When you send the LinkedIn invite, include a personal note and reference where you met the person and what you spoke about. This will help set you apart and make a more lasting impression.
8. DON’T Connect with People You Meet for the First Time on Facebook
Facebook is a social site and a place where you let loose a little more, which means it’s not the ideal place for business connections.
9. DO Be Yourself and Be Authentic
People respond to those who are genuine and want to help people they truly connect with.
10. DON’T Make the Obvious Mistakes
This includes drinking too much, interrupting others and monopolizing conversations.
11. DO Be Friendly, But DON’T Flirt
People like those who are approachable, but if you’re overly friendly, you could be sending the wrong message.
12. DON’T Be Afraid to Ask for an Introduction to Someone in Their Network
But, this should take place after you’ve had the chance to get to know the person and have demonstrated your sincerity and work ethic.
13. DO Listen More Than You Talk
The holidays are a time for socializing and getting to know people. Take advantage of this time to get to know some people, build relationships and gather useful information. Socialize, have fun and network strategically!
In what situations can you put these tips to use this holiday season?
Sheryl Johnson is passionate about helping people in career transitions and job searches market themselves through strategic networking techniques and recently launched an online Network PRo Toolkit. She has over 20 years’ business experience in many industries, teaches marketing at the collegiate level and speaks regularly at various conferences and meetings. Sheryl is the co-founder of The Inn Group, a unique networking club servicing greater Pittsburgh.