The merry season is here and for most of us, it is time to kick back and have a good time with family and friends. During the holiday season, it is common for people to gather in parties and other gatherings to catch up and, bond and enjoy each other’s company. Despite the casual atmosphere, December is considered the best time to job hunt, and a key component of job hunting is learning how to network.
One thing that sets rich people apart from those who are just getting by is their knack for seeing an opportunity in every interaction, regardless of setting. Networking for them comes naturally. They have their business cards with them everywhere and they ensure they follow up if they feel something is worth considering. This is a habit you need to nurture, starting with this holiday season.
So how do you network in parties and other social gatherings without putting people off and sounding too serious?
Here is how;
Know the People You are Going to Meet Before Hand
Knowing who you are going to meet helps you prepare and takes away the nerves. So, if possible, ask about people who are going to be at the party. Have an easy, structured introduction phrase for yourself that isn’t too serious and when talking to people, talk about yourself less and listen more. Learn as much as you can and note the details. People like it when you remember specifics about them that they told you, even briefly. So, catch something small but important about a person. For instance; Peter the Social Media Guru, Paul the analyst, Achieng the Marketing Expert etc.
Deliberately Decide to Network
Take advantage of the easy holiday attitude of people in your circles with the power of influence. Endeavor to create an impression in your interactions with them and use these opportunities to network. View each interaction as an opportunity to know more about what they do, their companies and their interests.
Network With the Environment in Mind
Now, since you have made a decision to network, it doesn’t mean that you go to social gatherings in a suit and with a little briefcase that contains your professional documents. What does networking mean to you? Networking situations are not like interviews. There is no textbook rule that you must follow in order to get a job. Networking mostly depends on how well you connect with someone else and the value of your interaction to both of you. You walking into a place of relaxation in a striped suit, all official will only make people avoid you. No one wants to be reminded of the serious office work they have been tackling the whole year, especially not during that one time in the year known for kicking back and relaxing. That being said, leave your CV behind, please. Have it online just in case someone wants to see it, but don’t go carrying it around. You can also have business cards with you. Those are acceptable.
Ask for Information
Asking for further information is the best informal way of asking for a job consideration or referral. When a topic is broached that is line with what you are looking for in a job, as naturally as possible say something like; “You know, I am quite interested in Digital Marketing. Tell me more about …”Or “That is a field I am very interested in joining, could you point me in the direction of someone doing it on an abc capacity?” Anyone in this conversation would be happy to oblige and offer information or give you a referral. It is definitely a better approach than, “I am looking for an accounting job. Do you have a vacancy in your company?”
You are not networking just for the sake of it. Create a follow-up plan. Depending on how far your interactions go with your connections, write to them or call them after the holidays are over with an intention of picking up on your discussion. If they promised to get back to you or refer someone to you, you need to follow up. It shows initiative and a willingness to see things through. Be careful, however, not to nag or stalk them as this might backfire.