friends standing around a barbecue

How to network like a pro at social events

With the Christmas party season just around the corner, now is the time to brush up on your networking skills. Your friends and family can help you network and help in your job search, but you never know who you might meet at a BBQ, Christmas drinks, or extended family get-together. You don’t want to miss out on the perfect opportunity to land your next job. Here’s our top tips on how to network like a pro at social events.

Accept invitations

This might sound obvious, but if you don’t get out there, you won’t meet people. Networking can be a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more chances you have of meeting someone who can help you find a new job. So say yes, yes, yes to those invitations!

girl saying yes! yes! yes!

Introduce yourself

Everyone has contacts – don’t forget to introduce yourself to everyone you meet. To feel more confident, it helps to have an introduction and some ice-breaker questions ready to go. It doesn’t have to be a formal party for you to use these, any gathering where there are a group of people is the prime opportunity to connect. You could be at a game of backyard cricket, watching your kids play sport, or just enjoying a BBQ with mates.

While it’s great to introduce yourself to everyone you meet, this doesn’t mean hassling everyone at a party to give you a job. Networking is about building relationships – these may or may not lead a job offer but they can have many other benefits. Be conversational and genuinely interested in what other people have to say. Avoid constantly talking about yourself and don’t just talk about how badly you need a job.

Dress to impress

If you are looking to professionally network at Christmas parties, it is important to dress well. You want people to remember you for the right reasons. If you dress well, ask questions, listen well and speak confidently to people you meet, you will leave a good impression. If you’re chatting to someone and the conversation veers towards your career, make sure you have your elevator pitch ready to go.

Remember, if you are using social events to network to find a job, you need to act professionally at all times. Don’t go heavy on the alcohol and act like you would at a formal networking event.

Cinderella transforming into a gown

Take notes about the people you meet

Take notes of people who you think could be a good contact or who offer you help. Get their LinkedIn contact details, business card or email address. Jot down something about your conversation as it will help jog your memory later.

Follow up

Make sure you follow up with anyone you connect with. Integrity is a key attribute people look for when networking or hiring. If you say you’re going to contact someone, do it. Otherwise, you’ll undo all the hard work you did when you first met the person. Follow up with an email, LinkedIn message or phone call.

handwriting on white board saying be positive

Stay positive

If you’ve been looking for work for awhile, it can be hard to remain positive. Being social might be the last thing you feel like doing, but going to different events can be a surprising way to meet people and build professional networks. Networking can also be a fun way to boost your job search, and beats sitting in front of the computer all day.

Images: iStock, giphy

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