Do you find yourself agonizing over your career path during the holiday season? You aren’t alone. Many people find themselves stressed out about their career or job opportunities around this time of the year. A recent study shows that nearly one in two men get depressed over the Christmas holidays, with a significant percentage citing financial concerns as the primary cause. For the vast majority who celebrate Christmas in America, the holiday is so expensive it’s scary. There is an intense pressure to buy gifts for everyone, including people we may not like all that much. Even without this pressure, the reality of the rapidly approaching new year often causes us to question the current path we are on even if we’re gainfully employed, you may not be happy with where you’re going. The season of reflection and new beginnings often leads us all to ponder a new career direction more seriously.
The question that crosses many people’s’ minds is whether or not the holiday season is a good time to apply for jobs. The answer is that this time of year is the perfect moment for new career beginnings.
There’s No Time Like the Present
If you’re currently unemployed, there’s no time like the present (no pun intended) to get your CV out there. You can always follow up later if it seems like your resume may have gotten lost amongst the confusion of vacation days, office parties, and eggnog. If your goal is immediate income, there’s also lots of temporary positions that open up ahead of Thanksgiving and intensify in the days leading up to Christmas.
But what if you’re currently employed and want to move on to bigger and better things? Is it better to wait until things return to normal? Are there advantages to applying during the holiday season or is it better to wait?
Perception Versus Reality
The conventional wisdom is that HR departments slow down during Christmas. However, this isn’t exactly the case. It’s true that often the interviewing process slows down during the holidays; after all, it’s hard to get all the key decision makers and relevant team members coordinated during the peak of the vacation season. This doesn’t mean the hiring process slows down. It only means that sometimes interviews get delayed until the new year. What may surprise you is that many HR managers from larger companies consistently report that the lead up to the holidays (from Thanksgiving through New Year’s) is an exceptionally busy time. Often, it’s a use-it-or-lose-it scenario. Wages and salaries are budgeted within a yearly financial plan. If the positions aren’t filled, there’s no guarantee that funds will continue to be allocated for the same position in the upcoming year. This puts under-staffed departments, as well as HR, under a lot of pressure to hire (or at least begin the interview process) before the year ends.
Their Holiday is Your Big Break
The widespread, incorrect perception that companies don’t hire during the holidays is a competitive advantage you as a job seeker should exploit. If you qualify for the position, you’ll stand out amongst a smaller pool of applicants. If you can manage to be interviewed before the holidays, you may even get more time to impress and build a professional connection since the rest of the office is winding down into the pre-holiday lull ― this is the same slow down that may be allowing you the time to invest in your search! Even if you can’t get an interview before New Year’s Eve, you’ll have left an impression and could very well be the first interviewee of the new year. Merry Job-Hunting and a Happy New-Career!