THE BLOG
12/12/2014 12:28 pm ET Updated Feb 11, 2015

Party Your Way to a New Job During the Holidays

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One of the most enjoyable parts of the holidays are attending holiday parties, catching up with people you know and meeting new people.

Conveniently, catching up with people you know and meeting new people is a wonderful opportunity to network.

Coincidentally, networking is the number one way to find a new job.

How to "Party" Your Way to a New Job

If you party the right way, you will leverage the holidays for your job search while you are enjoying them.

  • Know job title(s) and target employers so you can give a clear answer to the "What are you looking for?" question.

Don't make this the topic that you discuss with everyone. But, when asked, have a clear answer that you share quickly and coherently.

Note: "Anything!" is an absolutely useless answer to the what-are-you-looking-for question, and, also, wrong unless you could be a rocket scientist and a brain surgeon, etc. Some people will interpret that response as a sign of desperation, and desperation is not attractive.

A better response (if appropriate for you) is something like, "I'm looking for a customer service supervisor or manager job with a bank or financial services company like ABC, XYZ, or EFG."

The complete answer is also much more likely to generate useful responses from others. It provides both the possibly job title as well as the names of target employers -- both of which provide the listener with clues to help them think of possibilities for you, now and later.

[More: The Quickest Way to Land Your New Job]

  • Bring "networking cards."

Networking cards include your name, profession or target job, personal (not work!) email address, personal (not work!) cell phone number, LinkedIn profile URL, and (possibly) Twitter account. Don't include Facebook unless your Facebook account is completely professional.

  • Renew some "old" friendships and working/school relationships, people who already know you and your work.

Contact former colleagues, co-workers, bosses, and subordinates. And/or contact former classmates.

Suggest a "holiday alumni reunion" (see Job-Hunt.org's Directory of Corporate Alumni Groups or search LinkedIn Groups), and meet at an old hangout for your reunion get-together. Catch up with what's going on with everyone else, and share what you're doing (or contemplating doing).

  • To maximize meeting new people, attend at least one party or other holiday gathering you've never attended before.

Check with local professional, charity, or business groups (whatever is most appropriate and appealing) to see if they have a holiday event you can attend.

  • Be a good networker.

Connect, and catch up with others. Do more listening than talking (2 ears, 1 mouth - for a reason).

Learn what other people are doing before sharing information about your job search. That strategy is both polite and useful. Maybe they work at one of your target employers?

Try to think of some way you can help the people you have met - maybe a contact name for them, recommendation on a great gift for their kids, or something else useful to them.

Consider organizing your own holiday networking event. [More: Holiday Networking Like a Pro!]

  • Enjoy yourself, within reason.

Company holiday parties are infamous for the idiot who gets drunk and tells off the boss. This kind of situation is what's known as a "career-limiting move," and you don't want to do that, regardless how deserving that boss or former boss may be. So, monitor your alcohol consumption, even on New Year's Eve.

Bottom Line

Networking is a long-term activity where you help others as much as they help you, sharing information and leads, and the holidays provide a wonderful excuse and venue for expanding your network.

Since networking, like everything else, is very seldom a "quick fix" to anyone's job search efforts, growing the size and strength of your network at holiday parties is a smart strategy.

Any holiday gathering usually provides us with a wonderful opportunity to get back in touch with old friends, and to meet new friends. The opportunity to attend parties translates into an increase in networking opportunities which can provide you with some good job leads!

More Holiday Job Search Tips

New Year, New Job! 101 Top Tips from the Job-Hunt Experts for Your Holiday Job Search: How to Use the Holidays to Advance Your Job Search. Read the reviews! At only 99 cents, this is a no-brainer!

Follow me on GooglePlus and Twitter (@JobHuntOrg) for more job search tips. Join the Job-Hunt Help LinkedIn Group for more help with your job search. This article was original posted on Job-Hunt.org.

Susan P. Joyce is president of NETability, Inc. and the editor and chief technology writer for Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan is also a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In addition to HuffingtonPost.com, Susan also contributes to AOL Jobs, LinkedIn, YouTern.com, NextAvenue.org, and BrazenCareerist.