Office parties are everywhere this holiday season. I have yet to walk downtown in D.C. and NOT see at least one restaurant a block closed down because of an office holiday party. Company holiday parties are great- not just because they are usually an excuse to dress up and eat good food- but for the networking opportunities they afford. Here are some tips for networking, and enjoying, your office holiday party.
To start, make sure you consult some of our etiquette tips for attending your office holiday party. You’ll have a much easier time networking when you’re dressed appropriately and not inebriated.
If you’re attending your own office party use this as an opportunity for networking within your own company. As a job seeker, networking is critical to finding a job, but as an employee networking within your company is equally important for your continued success. If you work at a small company, an office party gives you an opportunity to strengthen relationships with those you see everyday. If, however, you work at a larger company, the office party is a great way to mingle with people you don’t interact with on a day-to-day basis. Get to know your bosses and coworkers on a different level. Interacting on a personal level allows you to bond, and may give you something to talk about on Monday morning. You may also make a good impression on a boss’s spouse or significant other, giving you another recommendation- this time from someone very close to him/her.
Conversely, if you’re attending a friend or spouse’s office party you (especially job seekers) have an excellent opportunity for networking with a built-in reference by your side. You may not be able to, or want to, secure a job with the company whose party you’re at, but there will be other guests as well who might turn out to be excellent connections.
If you’re on the job hunt, let people know. Don’t be obnoxious about it, but if someone asks what you do say you have worked in X field for however long and are looking for something new full-time. People want to help and are usually especially charitable during the holiday season. Also, let your friend (boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse) serve as a reference for you to their coworkers. Allow them to talk you up. After all, they brought you along for a reason and obviously think very highly of you.
Office holiday parties are great networking tools, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. By being courteous and personable you may create professional opportunities for yourself in your job search.
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