MENLO PARK, CA -- Are you planning on attending your office holiday party? If not, you may be missing a career opportunity. Tracey Turner, executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing creative and communications professionals on a project basis, advises employees to take advantage of seasonal festivities.
"Missing one company activity probably won't impede an employee's career prospects, but being a perpetual no-show can cause a firm to question that person's enthusiasm and loyalty," says Turner. "Attending the office party can help staff members raise their visibility companywide and build camaraderie with coworkers."
"The key to making a positive impression at a corporate holiday function is to think of it as a business opportunity," adds Turner. "Be there to network and get better acquainted with colleagues - not to consume cocktails or share gossip."
Turner offers the following tips for making a good impression at your seasonal soiree:
- Reach out. Make a point to meet at least two people outside of your usual circle. Those from other departments can be valuable contacts.
- Have a story to tell. Come with one or two conversation starters in mind, such as current news events, movies you've seen or books you've read. Keep discussions light, avoiding sensitive topics such as politics or religion. Excessive "shop talk" is also not a good idea.
- Wear festive attire, but don't overdo it. If appropriate, dress up for the event, but keep it conservative, and don't wear anything overly flamboyant.
- Eat beforehand. You don't want to be anchored to the hors d'oeuvre table. Snacking prior to a party will enable you to focus on mingling instead of munching. It's also wise to limit your alcohol intake to one cocktail or less.
- Brush up on table manners. If the function is a formal dinner, make sure you’re current on etiquette for such occasions. If youýre not sure which bread plate is yours (the one on your left), or what to do with your napkin when youýre finished with your meal (place it neatly next to your plate), find a reference source to review.
- Take pictures. Offering to take photos of coworkers is a good way to break the ice. Follow up by giving your colleagues copies of pictures that include them.
- Know when to say farewell. Make your exit with the bulk of the crowd. Be sure to express your appreciation to those who planned the party and to your manager before you leave.
The Creative Group has offices in major markets across the United States and in Canada and offers online job search services at www.creativegroup.com.