Summer Partying Can Boost Your Career
For most of us, summer has been synonymous with vacation, long
lazy days and time off. But the summer provides great
opportunities to help your job search.
Since we were kids,
summer has been synonymous with vacation, long lazy days and
time off from responsibility -- and it seems we never grow
out of this way of thinking. Sometime around Memorial Day,
hiring tends to slow and job hunters put their searches on
hold for the summer.
The seasonal lag can't be
attributed to any one thing. For example, many people want to
take advantage of their accrued time off. Plus, who wants to
start a job during prime vacation time when the prospect of
any time off is pretty much out of the question for several
But just because your job search is on hold, it doesn't mean
you can take a break entirely. With summer festivals,
weddings, graduation parties and barbeques filling your
social calendar, why not take advantage of your networking
Most likely, you'll know at least one person at the social
events you're hitting. You'll have to break away from your
comfort zone of acquaintances to get started. Here are five
ways you can network at parties from 'Make Your Contacts
Count' (Amacom) by Lynne Waymon and Anne Baber:
Shelve your shyness
If you think of yourself as shy, you're not alone. Many
confident, poised and easygoing people were once timid and
uncomfortable. In fact, one study claims that 50 percent of
people think of themselves as shy. You can learn to get over
your shyness, however. Recognize that others feel the same
way. Practice your body language. Find a role model and make
something that person does, like a confident handshake, part
of your technique.
At any gathering, people will be talking in groups. To join
a group, use body language -- touch someone's arm gently but
firmly, and usually the circle will naturally break for you
to enter. Make eye contact with the person talking or smile
at the listeners. Take a moment to tune into the conversation
and participate when you're ready. Introduce yourself when
there's a lull in the conversation.
Engage your partner
You can use body language to reward and encourage your
partner. Establish eye contact. Nod your head for nonverbal
encouragement. Be genial -- show your partner you're enjoying
the conversation. Smile and use gestures. Aim your attention
at your partner and ease your posture.
Be seriously curious
Networking isn't just about talking, it's also about
listening. Don't monopolize the conversation; encourage
dialogue. Everyone has a story, so use interview techniques
to avoid dead-end questions. Ask people where they came from
and how they got where they are. Make other people talk but
remember, persistence is a virtue but know when to stop
Be careful of turn-offs
Just as easily as you can enter a group, you can also have
people scrambling to make a run for it. Don't give a
monologue or tell all the details -- they're boring and will
lose people's attention. At the same time, don't interrupt
others. Be careful of flirting, becoming intoxicated or using
offensive language. This type of behavior can make you an
unattractive conversation partner at this and future
Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for
CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search
strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace
Copyright 2008 CareerBuilder.com. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.
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