Network On The Sly During Your Holiday Parties This Year

The holiday season is the perfect time to network for your next job. It’s the best time to reconnect with old colleagues and meet new connections that can lead to job leads. The trick to networking during the holidays is to leave your job search agenda at the door, and just enjoy yourself. Here are some ways to use the plethora of social gatherings to your advantage in your job hunt.

Motivate yourself to attend the party.

You might have a million other things you’d rather do than go to a holiday party, but the face-to-face interaction can propel your job search ahead. We’re lucky to have technology like email and LinkedIn to reconnect with former colleagues, but it’s definitely easier to connect in person. It is also easier to build a relationship with a new acquaintance in person versus reaching out to them on social media or a cold email. Guests also tend to be be more relaxed at a holiday party that at a normal networking event.

Attend a class or workshop instead.

If you’re really dreading holiday parties, at least put yourself out there by attending a class or workshop related to your industry. You’ll learn a new skill, and meet people who might have connections to people in need of someone with your skill set. Attending a class or workshop might be ideal for people who aren’t as outgoing because there isn’t any pressure to mingle with others, while at holiday parties the main purpose is to socialize. The lightened pressure to “network,” can make it easier for you to make valuable connections.

Plant seeds and reap benefits later.

Networking at a holiday party is for planting seeds, and following up later to reap the benefits. Use the event as a jumping board for a later meet-up or informational interview. At the holiday party, just enjoy the conversation and let it organically lead to how you’re looking for your next career move. A tactful way to let someone know you’re interested in a post-party meet-up is, “I’d love to learn more. We should grab coffee or lunch soon to discuss.” Make sure to exchange contact information, and gracefully move on to another guest.

Throw your own get-together.

Planning your own holiday happy hour will ensure that you’re in control of the guest list and the entire feel of the party. Make sure to include invitees on your guest list from the same industry or job function as well as inviting any colleague you would like to know better. Encourage invitees to bring along another guest, and promote talk between strangers by introducing everyone. Soon, you will be the buzz of the party and you can use your new connections to find new job leads in the new year.