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Leveraging the silly season for networking and career prospects
As 2019 wraps up, many of us will be attending social events hosted by those in our direct network, as well as outside our market or industry through extended invitations.
While the thought of attending these events can become particularly overwhelming for some of us, thinking of these parties and celebrations as networking and for potential career opportunities puts a more positive spin on the situation.
Much different to the usual industry conferences, workshops and events held throughout the year, the silly season brings about a more relaxed face-to-face atmosphere. You might see colleagues you previously worked with and contacts you haven’t caught up with recently, allowing you to catch-up on work as well as life.
RELATED: Top 10 benefits of networking
These informal conversations can bring about useful information for career development, making new connections and introductions, and even new roles from recent movement i.e. “Did you hear so-and-so resigned?”
Therefore, it’s important to do a bit of preparation, have a bit of an idea who will be attending and plan accordingly.
Here are four reasons why you should leverage the silly season for networking.
Informal settings create a better foundation for relationships
A social event like an end of year wrap or Christmas party provides an opportunity to build trust and get to know people in an environment where there is no pressure or agenda. This informality allows professionals to interact as equals, outside the hierarchies of professional environments, which will lead to more authentic relationships.
Mentioning you’re into running and marathons, for example, is a great way to share a personal interest and could spark a fun discussion with people you wouldn’t otherwise mingle or network with. You then have an “in” and can interweave any work or career-related questions if they’re someone you think would be a great contact going forward.
Receive but also share advice
One of the best ways to network is to offer advice on an informal basis. Change your perspective and look at networking as a way to give and share, rather than only just a way to get ahead. That said, asking for advice is also a time-honoured way to network, as many people are happy to help, especially someone they know socially. So pick someone’s brain at a your next function, office party or event – you never know where it might lead.
Get to know a new industry
Joining a group that’s formed around a different industry, profession or interest means you’ll be exposed to a wider variety of people than you otherwise would have. This creates an opportunity to find out about someone else’s career and market, which allows organic connections to be formed.
Hear about job openings
Personal referrals are a common way people find new jobs without having to ever search on job boards – many of these jobs may also never hit the jobs listings as companies may prefer to go off someone’s recommendation and reputation. By being connected to a wider variety of professionals, you can find out about who’s hiring, when, and why. You can even sound out people and pitch your skills, even if their company isn’t specifically hiring at that point. Keeping your ears open at non-work events, such as a sports match or competition, could prove an invaluable asset to your career.
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