Baltimore Business Journal - by Gary Haber
If you’re in the market for a job, don’t shelve your search during the holidays. The year-end parties that companies, industry groups and charities hold can be a ripe opportunity to do some networking that could propel you into that next job, if you approach it right.
I spoke with Maribeth Kuzmeski, author of the book, “The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life” to get the lowdown on how to network effectively during a holiday party. Here’s what she said:
• It all starts with preparation. Find out in advance who’s going to be at the party and make a list of the folks you want to talk with. If the party’s at someone’s house, it’s OK to ask the host or hostess who else will be there. If it’s a public event, such as the Chamber of Commerce’s holiday party, ask the organizers for a list of the people who will be attending.
• Then, hit the Internet. Do a Google search on the people who’ll be at the party and the companies they work for.
“Look for conversation starters,” things you can use to approach a person to get a conversation going, Kuzmeski said.
• Come up with a short pitch that describes your background and what kind of job you’re looking for. Practice your pitch aloud a few times to see how it sounds. “Be prepared to pitch yourself in just a few seconds,” Kuzmeski said.
• Do less talking and more listening. Instead of talking about yourself, pay attention to the other person.
• Don’t come right out and ask someone if they are hiring. Instead, ask if they know of anyone who is hiring.
• Follow up with the people you spoke with through e-mail or with a telephone call.
• And keep your expectations reasonable, Kuzmeski said. You won’t walk out of the party with a job offer in hand. But if you’ve made some new contacts you can follow up with after the holidays, you’ve done well.
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