Unemployed workers looking to stand out from their peers are flocking to "pink slip" parties to get face-to-face time with job recruiters. The social functions give those who are out of work another alternative to waiting in long lines at job fairs or emailing resumes that disappear into cyberspace, never to be heard from again.
It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd when so many people are competing for the same jobs. The advantage to the relatively casual happy hours is that folks looking for work can make a more personal connection with recruiters who have positions to fill. Even if a meeting doesn't result in a job offer, attendees can get to know people in their industry who may have leads on other career opportunities or other news that can help their job hunt.
So far it appears that most of these pink slip parties are being held in large cities like Los Angeles and New York, but it's only a matter of time before those in smaller cities catch on and begin to offer similar events.
While making job contacts over chips and dip is a great idea, those who take advantage of such gatherings need to remember why they are there in the first place. I've come up with a few pink slip party rules to help:
- Skip the liquor if it turns you into a raving lunatic.
- Don't grab the last shrimp cocktail if the recruiter you just spent a half hour trying to impress reaches for it first.
- Never double dip or you could end up in a tussle like George Costanza.
- Avoid trashing your former boss when chatting with folks, since any one of them could be his regular golfing partner.
- Don't write your phone number on cocktail napkins. Bring professionally printed business cards and resumes.
- Unless you're applying for a job as a runway model, skip the super trendy clothes and stick with professional attire.
- Bring mints so the folks you talk to don't pass out from your bad breath.
Smart networking is key to landing a new gig, and pink slip parties can be a great job-hunting tool. They can let as many people as possible get to know you and what you have to offer. Just remember to stay focused and professional.