Holiday parties can be the time you sit back and relax after working the daily grind. However, for those of you looking to grow your career or have a fresh start in the New Year, take the most popular time to mingle and turn it into networking opportunities. You may not realize that new possibilities are within your reach as you celebrate the holidays with family, friends and colleagues.
Office Holiday Party:
Networking doesn’t mean you’re looking for a new job, but perhaps a new opportunity with your current employer. Utilize this time to rub elbows with the leaders of your company. Hopefully you’ll be toasting to a new year with new possibilities.
What to wear: Even if the invitation says business casual, take your wardrobe to the next level with a bold and memorable, yet professional, piece. Men can also spruce up a black suit with a colorful tie that draws someone’s attention. Either way, introduce something they don’t see once a week.
How to prep: Skip the business cards and make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest company accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to ask questions though. Approach a leader to find out their big initiatives for the New Year.
A friend of a friend is likely how many of your colleagues got their foot in the door. After the introduction is made, the rest is up to you. So take the opportunity to be that friend of a friend (or cousin or aunt) who made the most of their opportunity to land a new job.
What NOT to wear: We recommend passing on the jeans, graphic tees, crop tops, or anything that can cause a wardrobe malfunction. Keep it simple with business casual attire that shows you’re ready to sit at the big kid’s table.
How to prep: Don’t share all the negatives with your current situation. Share the positives of where you see yourself both short term and long term. Where you are in your job search is a common question, so take advantage!
Annual Celebrations with Friends
You already know your family and your colleagues. A friend’s holiday party is the best way to network with new faces. Introduce yourself to your friend’s friends and get the word out that you’re on the hunt for a new job or career path. Before you know it, you’ll be growing the size of your network and making contacts for the New Year.
What to wear: You may not be at the office, but that’s no excuse to not be best dressed. Take a cue from our advice on the office holiday party and repeat as needed. You never know who you’ll meet or at what level they are within their company.
How to prep: Set goals to connect with at least three new people. Ask questions about where they work. They’ll soon reciprocate, and that’s your chance to mention your aspirations for a new path. Don’t forget your business cards!
While these are just a handful of possible interactions, dress to impress every time you step outside your front door. You never know who you’ll meet by chance or how an unexpected introduction can lead to your next opportunity.