Networking During The Holidays

Business team people Christmas greeting card
The CPI team wants to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  #GetOutThereAndNetwork

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It’s that time of year! Most of us are gearing up to attend one or more holiday parties. While you may be tempted to skip all the merriment and stay home in your pajamas, here is something to consider: according to ABC news, 80% of jobs are obtained through some type of networking opportunity.

Now it goes without saying that one of the best ways to get a job is by using a staffing agency like CPI. The very mission of CPI is to find the perfect job for you! So before you head out the door visit www.cpijobs.com to see if there is a job opportunity for you at our website.

But if you want to be highly engaged in your job search, it’s also important to start scouring the events listings in your local newspaper or online media service, to see what’s happening in your area. Pick events that are industry specific to your line of work or your areas of interest.

Grab a calendar and make a commitment to attend at least two or three functions or parties this month and next. This of course, is easier said than done. Maybe you have never attended a networking event in your life. What do you say? What do you wear? How do you follow up? While often daunting, the art of networking can be mastered in time.

First, call ahead and ask about the dress code and prepare accordingly. Maybe this means a trip to a local clothing store, a dry cleaner or shoe shop.

Second, and probably the most important thing you can remember about networking is that it’s not about you! This may seem contradictory to your goal. You’re there to meet someone who might be able to help you find a job right? Well, sort of. You are there to build your circle of influence, which means you are there to help solve problems for others.

If you solve a problem for someone else, you will do two things. First, you will position yourself as someone who not only listens, but also as someone who can make things happen. And two, you will rise above the visual and social clutter as a stand out. You will, in short, be remembered.

If you meet someone at a party and they don’t know where to book their next corporate event and you happen to know of a great place at a reasonable price, send her an email with the name and contact information of the event planner. This is just one example of thousands of possible scenarios.

Zero in on key details about the people you meet. Ask for their business card(s) and write down three key things about them on the back of the card. And then follow up, follow up, follow up! Send a hand written note of thanks. Ask for an informational interview or offer some sort of support, which will meet his/her needs.

Set a goal to pass along at least five to 10 of your own business cards. There is an art to this too. Try to avoid the often awkward business card exchange by working it into the conversation. For example, you might say “I understand that your offices are located in Troy. I’m just down the street.  Maybe we can grab a coffee sometime. ” At this point in the conversation  you can hand him your card.

Sophisticated business people understand that everything is about sales. So if you get rejected or your genuine kindness is rebuffed, don’t get discouraged. Just like anything else, it’s a numbers game. The more you  put yourself out there with a sincere heart, the higher the likely hood that you will be successful.

Open gift with fireworks from confetti.
Go out there and give yourself the gift of a new network! #CPIJobsInc

The art of networking is a subtle dance between what you want and what others need. Remember, you wouldn’t ask someone you just took out on a date to marry you. Would you? No. Then why would you ask a perfect stranger for a job opportunity. It’s essentially the same concept. Building relationships take time.

A certain level of trust and personal understanding must exist between two people before you can jump headlong into “the ask.” Savvy professionals understand this concept. And there’s no reason you can’t participate in this process. Consider yourself a brand.  Branding and a complete sales cycle can take months. So be patient. Act as if and keep showing up.

Now get out there and network, network, network. The more you do it, the better you’ll become  And who knows, you may even have fun!

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