Holiday Party Buzz: Get a New Job, Not a Hangover

Holiday office parties are a great place to get a new job.

ByABC News
November 23, 2007, 7:48 AM

Nove. 26, 2007 Special to — -- One of the most common job-hunting mistakes people make is putting the search on hold from Thanksgiving to New Year's. It might seem like entire offices are hibernating, but the truth is, they're at holiday parties. Join them there.

The holiday season, with all its socializing and merry-making, is prime time for networking. Since managers tend to hire people they--and their colleagues--know, networking should play a major role in any job seeker's process.

But don't go blindly to every holiday party you're invited to. To get the most out of each one, you need to develop a strategy.

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Start by doing your homework about each event. What type of people are attending--are they likely the type of people you want to meet? If it's for a trade association or professional group, ask the organizer to forward you the list of people who are attending, says Lynne Waymon, co-author of Making Contacts Count. Peruse it to see if anyone's name stands out.

If you're attending a party thrown by a professional organization, look up the name of the group's board of directors before the event. Those are the people you want to meet, because they are heavily involved in the industry and likely have a lot of useful contacts. Other key attendees are the party's hosts. Like members of the board, they know most of the guests and can introduce you. Finally, think about who you met last year and put them on your list of people to chat with. Remembering someone's name goes a long way.

"Good networks are very intentional," says Waymon. "Give a lot of attention to details, especially surrounding names."

Now that you've got a list of people to talk with, make sure to get there on time. Arriving when there are fewer people makes it easier to get time with the party's hosts and the board of directors. For people who feel shy about meeting strangers, getting there while the crowd is small is much easier to manage than entering a room full of 200 partiers already having a good time, says Thom Singer, author of The ABCs of Networking.