With Christmas around the corner, holiday parties at the office are in full swing. I’ve put together a few tips to help you network and grow your career during the office Christmas party season.
Improve Your Visibility
Attend as many pertinent social events and business gatherings as you’d like. Whether it’s your office Christmas party or a get-together of professionals at a colleague’s home, make every effort to be there. Career experts recommend you attend such social events, even for a short time, because your absence may be noticed, and your career or job search benefit greatly from the opportunity to network.
By showing up on time, being kind, and visiting with others, you are demonstrating characteristics that may get you noticed by supervisors and potential employers who will think of you when a new opportunity becomes available. This is also a way to grow your list of contacts through the people you already know. Holiday events for charitable, not-for-profit, or community groups can be great networking opportunities.
Give a Little, Get a Lot
In your career, as in other areas of life, putting others before yourself actually proves more productive for your professional growth than going into the party trying to figure out what you can get out of it. It may sound counter-intuitive, but instead of going to the office party this holiday season with thoughts of what you can “get,” I encourage my clients to think about what they can “give”. If you go with the mindset of talking with your colleagues and genuinely thinking about how you can help them in their careers, not only will the kindness be remembered, it will be returned.
While I realize not everyone is willing to take this approach, it can be quite beneficial in the long run. Putting others first by supporting them in the challenges they are currently facing in their careers builds strong relationships that will support you when you need it. A small dose of sincerity and thoughtfulness can go a long way.
Network in Earnest
The holidays offer you an annual chance to flaunt your amazing social skills, which are especially important if your position requires working with other people—sorry introverts, but the networking for introverts is a topic best left for another article. Engage with key players you don’t usually get face time with such as colleagues in other departments. Visit for a few moments with a variety of people—and be genuine with praise and gratitude. Smile while making eye contact, shake hands, and wish them well this holiday season. Always be sure to take plenty of business cards along to offer new contacts and ask for theirs in exchange.
Diversify Your Contacts
Seasonal parties and gatherings offer a terrific opportunity to network, so get in there and mix and mingle. When you attend events outside of your company or industry, this allows you to diversify your contacts. This will allow you to share ideas and exchange valuable information with other professionals, which often leads to career growth.
Prepare in Advance
Before you attend an event, prepare a short (no more than 30 seconds) elevator speech about who you are. This should be concise, yet powerful, so people can get to know you quickly. Include your name, business, and where you work. You can also discuss what you specialize in, but be sure to avoid bragging. Remember to ask others to share information about themselves as well, and be a good, attentive listener. Give positive feedback by making eye contact as they talk, and ask short follow-up questions to show you were listening.
Grow Your Online Network
Many of us have time off during the holidays, so why not make the most of it? Use this time to beef up your presence online. Use LinkedIn to request connections with people you have met at holiday gatherings, friend colleagues on your professional Facebook page, and follow important connections on Twitter. You may learn about career opportunities or open positions through these media and may be contacted about a job this way, as many of my clients have.
Build a Positive Image
By being upbeat and friendly at events as well as in the workplace, you can create a positive image of yourself as a professional among your colleagues and connections. Such optimism attracts others and encourages people to reach out to you for connections or with career opportunities.
Be a Gracious Guest
Before leaving, be sure to thank the party planner who put things together. Party planning can be daunting, and gratitude is always appreciated. If the party was held at someone’s private residence, be sure to compliment the host and/or hostess for a splendid party, and thank them for the lovely evening.
Be sure to follow up with new contacts with a telephone call, email, or through social media expressing how nice it was to make their acquaintance. This will solidify your image with them as someone who is professional and courteous, which can lead to career growth and new prospects. You can even send a thank-you card to the host or hostess for the wonderful event, and mention new contacts you made by name. This may spark your name coming up in conversation the next time they speak with the people you have just met, keeping you fresh in their minds.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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