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Partying down so you can move up

Don't skip your office's holiday party, warns a personnel expert. You could miss out on a great career opportunity.

Tracey Turner, executive director of The Creative Group staffing service based in Menlo Park, Calif., says attendance at seasonal festivities can help employees increase visibility within the company and build co-worker camaraderie.

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Both are important components to a successful career.

The key is to think of the holiday function as a business opportunity, says Turner. She offers the following tips for making a good impression at your office's seasonal soiree:

  • Mingle: Introduce yourself to at least two people outside of your usual circle. Co-workers from other departments could be valuable contacts.
  • Join the conversation: Come with one or two topics in mind, such as current news events, movies you've seen or books you've read. Steer clear of sensitive subjects, such as politics or religion. And even though it's an office function, avoid excessive shop talk.
  • Dress tastefully: If appropriate, dress up for the event, but keep it conservative. Don't wear anything overly flamboyant.
  • Eat first: Snack before you get to the party so you can focus on mingling instead of munching. Eschew excessive alcohol; limit yourself to one cocktail or less.
  • Don't overstay your welcome: Exit when most of the crowd goes. Be sure to thank the party planners. And say good-bye to your supervisor before you leave.
  • Missing an occasional company activity probably won't knock you off your career track, Turners says, but being a perpetual no-show can cause a firm to question an employee's enthusiasm and loyalty.

    So reconsider before you toss that invitation. Take note of these tips and head to the office party. You might be glad you did.

     
    --Updated: May 13, 2004
       

     

     
     

     

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