Monthly Archives: December 2011

3 Holiday Networking Tips for Introverts

Believe it or not, introverts can be very successful networkers at holiday parties.  No, you do not have to be the life of the party.  As a matter of fact, you might make a more positive impact through what most of you do more often than extroverts.  You listen!  Here are three quick tips for introverts to be successful networkers this holiday season.

  1. 1.      BE THERE:  Do not stay home! Attend those receptions and parties this season.  Put on your professional party best and a genuine smile, and you are ready for a great event.  If you are uncomfortable joining a conversation, use a tip I received from my esteemed colleague, Diane Gottsman.  If you see a couple of people talking and one person has their foot pointed outward, you can use that as a sign that the conversation is open to another person.  Just walk up and simply ask to join.  This is where you will have to step out of your comfort zone, but it is a step well worth your while. 
  2. 2.      Stay near the Door:  Whatever you do, do not let yourself sit down or stand in the corner.  By standing near the door, you have the opportunity to see everyone arriving and leaving the event.  As real estate professionals say, the key is location, location, location.  Even if you’re in a conversation with someone else, position yourself to allow others to join your group.  Just as you would like people to include you, remain open to including others in your conversation.    
  3. 3.      Be an Active Listener:  The secret to building relationships isn’t in the talking but in the listening.  Active listeners show interest in what other people say.  They are good at asking open ended questions that encourage conversation.  In a previous blog, I wrote that being interested makes you much more interesting because you are actively engaged in a conversation. 

You do not have to be a great talker to be a great conversationalist, but you have to be there, be seen, and engage in conversation.  Just by attending and engaging in active listening, you will make tremendous strides in building valuable business relationships. 

Diane Gottsman is a nationally recognized etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in corporate etiquette training. Diane is also the author of Pearls of Polish, an etiquette guide for today’s busy woman.

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Define Your Job Search Vision

Why is vision so important? It’s the way we interact with the world around us, and it impacts choices we make, opportunities we pursue, and what we focus on over the course of our lives. Some would say, vision is everything. Well, almost.

Vision is the plan for how we are going to reach a goal. However, many simply say that “X” is my goal, and I’m going to achieve “X!” That statement is pretty vague, isn’t it? Vision should be more than just a preferred outcome or picture of what the future looks like. Like I said, a vision should be a plan.

It’s somewhat easy to say we want a particular job, but it’s more difficult to say how we go about working toward that goal. How are you going to find contacts, companies, or opportunities? What will you say or do when you find them?

Get clear about your vision.

Focus and write down exactly what you see happening in terms of the specific action steps you will take—the how. By solidifying action steps, you draw a clear line of sight from the present to the achievement of the goal.

So, get started! Open “Notes” on your iPad, create a Word document, or put it all down with a pen and notepad. Define your vision, and you will take the most important step forward in your job search.

 By Guest Blogger Jessica Newcomb.  Jessica is the Assitant Director for Masters Career Education and Advising in the Graduate Business Career Services at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

December Networking for Job Seekers

Some will advise job seekers to wait until after the New Year to resume searching for employment.  I, on the other hand, am with the group who recommend job seekers dry clean their business best and take advantage of December receptions and networking opportunities. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is perfect for networking. 

Join professional associations for your chosen profession or industry and attend Holiday and Christmas receptions and socials.  These events are great opportunities to meet potential employers from several organizations at one time.  National or international associations usually have regional groups that get together during this time of year. 

In addition, Texas A&M University has “A&M Clubs” all over the world.  Many of these clubs have weekly Happy Hours and certainly have events planned during the month of December to celebrate the Holidays and Christmas.  All job seeking Aggies should be sure to attend these celebrations, and former or current students from other colleges and universities should be attending events from their Alma Maters as well. 

Another great idea for connecting with business professionals during this time of year is to participate in community events.  Local businesses often get involved in Food Bank inventory collection or Toy Drives.  You will not only meet potential future colleagues and employers but also provide much needed service to your community. 

The opportunities for networking during the month of December are limitless.  Please do not put your job search on the shelf until January 2.  Continue to build your network and enjoy a very happy holiday and Christmas season.