Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Networking Advice from Ford R. Myers

My post last week about Holiday networking was very popular, so I thought I would pass on some advice I found in a newsletter from career coach extraordinaire Ford R. Myers of Career Potential. Ford's the one who kicked me in the rear and got me networking in the first place, so I always heed his advice.

Here are the first four of Ford's 10 Tips for Holiday Networking. If you want to see the other six, sign up for Ford's newsletter or give him a call.

I'll let Ford take it from here:

When it comes to the holidays, I suggest you be a "contrarian" – and do what all the other job seekers are not doing. Since most of them are taking an extended break, this opens-up real opportunities for you!

The reality is that the holidays are an excellent time to develop and leverage new contacts for your job search or career transition. Many companies are completing their budget planning for the next fiscal year. This is often the best time to get in front of hiring managers, who can create a position for you in the coming year. Many managers have to fill openings early in the year or they may lose the budget for that position. Also, once year-end bonuses are paid, a predictable percentage of employees will leave their jobs, creating new vacancies!

Here are 10 career-savvy tips you can follow during the holidays:

Business is all about establishing relationships – and relationships are best developed in social settings. During the holidays, most people are naturally more convivial and generous in spirit. There is simply no better time to solidify existing relationships and forge new ones!

There are many networking events in December and January – in your social life, in your community, and in your professional circles. Think of all the companies having holiday parties. Many charities have their last fundraisers of the tax year in December. The book sales, holiday fairs and other celebrations make this the best time of year for productive networking!

Most professional associations make a holiday party out of their December meeting. These special occasions offer a more casual atmosphere than the formal presentations held at other monthly meetings. Do not bring a resume to these events. Create a simple, tasteful business card with your name, phone number and e-mail address. Be prepared to make interesting small talk to establish new contacts. Ask the people you meet about themselves, their work, and their interests. Remember, everyone’s favorite subject is “themselves!”

Prior to a social or networking event, prepare at least three neutral questions you can ask, such as:

  • How do you know the host, the company, etc.?
  • What made you decide to come to this event?
  • What other organizations in this industry do you belong to?

If you find it’s time to move on and talk with someone new, you’ll need some phrases to help you transition during the event. Here are some good “exit lines:”

  • I’ll let you go now, so you can continue circulating around the room.
  • I’ll stop monopolizing your time so you can meet some other folks.
  • It was great speaking with you. I’ll follow up as we discussed.

Well, that's the first four. Go to Ford's web site and request the other six, if you like.

Photo uploaded by goodrob13

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