Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is approaching, and soon we’ll be in the full-blown chaos of the holiday season. For job seekers, this can be the most stressful part of the year. Budgeting for gifts, seeing extended family and the cold, hard fact that it’s much more difficult to find a job during this time of year, can weigh on people in need of a new job. Many job seekers put their hunt on hold entirely, opting to wait until the new year to start again.
Even though it’s tempting to temporarily give up and instead spend your holiday time eating cookies and relaxing, don’t do it! There are several reasons why you should keep up your search during the holiday season.
1) Less competition
The common belief that the holidays are a bad time to job search leads many people to give up between Thanksgiving and the New Year. This is great news for people who want to keep trying – fewer applicants to compete with! Keep sending out your resume, networking emails, and calling HR departments. With fewer people in the hiring process, you’ll have a better chance at landing interviews. This may also be the time that companies are figuring out their annual budget for the upcoming year. This leads to the realization that they need to hire new employees to fill gaps and take over certain jobs.
2) Holiday downtime = more time to search
For some industries, the holiday season is busier than ever, so this wouldn’t apply, but other jobs calm down as the end of December approaches. If you are looking for a job while currently employed and the year is winding down in your office, seize the moment! With fewer projects and obligations, it can be the best time to reallocate your energy towards finding a new job. Don’t skimp out on deadlines or procrastinate at your current job, but if you find yourself with extra time off, put it towards your next career move. Even just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in finding your next position. Spend one of your days off doing research on different companies you’d like to work for and update your documents. Get everything organized!
3) Spread the cheer (and your name) at holiday social events
With holiday networking events and other social gatherings, it’s a great time of year to connect. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, as long as it won’t jeopardize your current position. Accept all invitations and head to the event with an open mind, the key here is to maximize exposure. Jot down notes about people you meet on business cards and introduce yourself warmly. Don’t be afraid to use language that suggests you’re looking for new opportunities, but don’t flat-out ask for a new job. Prepare yourself before you go. Be natural. Dress professional but add a festive twist, it could help spark a conversation!
After the event, don’t forget to follow-up with the people who captured your interest the most!
4) Take advantage of the season of giving
The holiday season is a great time to reach out to friends and old acquaintances. It’s the time of year that people are coming together, and many people feel more generous than usual. If someone you know can help you make a big career move, take them to dinner or coffee and talk about it. They will appreciate the gesture, and it will make them feel good if they can help you out in your transition. You never know what sort of opportunities they could help you uncover. It will also be a pleasant way to catch up! Just don’t be too pushy, no one wants to feel like you’re only using them to get a leg up on your career. Being genuine and caring about the people who are spending their time with you is key. They’ll want to give more to you in return, which will hopefully be a contact at the right company!
5) Turn a temporary job into a full-time position
If you’ve found a temporary position during the holiday rush and you end up enjoying it, try to turn it into a full-time job! Talk with your manager and see if you can work something out. If you’re currently unemployed, consider taking on a temporary position during the holidays. It could be a great way to build your network and potentially lead to a full-time gig. If nothing else, it will earn you some extra money to survive the season. If your short-term managers like what you contribute during their busiest time, they’ll want to keep you around for the New Year! Make yourself an asset. Put extra effort in during this short time of employment – cross train yourself on other projects. See if other departments could use your help. Be enthusiastic and accept all work that comes your way if you’d like to stay for the longer term.
While it’s easy to get discouraged as a job seeker looking for a new position during the holidays, maintain high spirit and cheer. If nothing comes up before the end of 2017, start strong with your resolutions and kick off your job hunt in January. Use the holidays as a time to disconnect and recharge, organize your documents, and create a plan of attack to land your dream job in the New Year!
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