'Tis the season to go to office holiday parties. Beware!

Don't treat your office gala like just any other shindig. It may be held after hours or off-site, but you're still in a work setting, surrounded by your co-workers and bosses. Inappropriate behavior is sure to be noticed, and it could hurt your career.

Monster, the job search Web site, has this advice:

Drink in moderation. It's not in good taste to get sloshed with your bosses and co-workers. You don't want to say or do something under the influence that could haunt you on Monday morning.

Dress appropriately. It may be tempting to pull out your holiday finest, but don't wear anything that would tarnish your image as a professional. For women, anything too short, tight or revealing is a no-go.

Check the guest list. Before you bring your wife or boyfriend to the fete, make sure significant others and spouses are really invited.

Time it right. Don't show up 15 minutes before the party ends just to "make an appearance." Conversely, partying into the wee hours doesn't look so smart either.

Network with the top brass. If you don't mingle with the company CEO, vice presidents or other higher-ups on a daily basis, the company party may be your chance to get noticed. Introduce yourself and socialize with others outside your normal work circle.

Say thank you. Planning an office party requires a lot of work, so be sure to thank the organizers. It's the right thing to do — and you'll set yourself apart from the other employees who aren't as courteous.

Copyright (c) 2006 MarketWatch, Inc.