It’s a busy time of year, but don’t let the holidays keep you from going full speed with your job search. Many people slow down their job search around the holidays because they think employers are not hiring at this time, or they are busy themselves with holiday preparations, and quite honestly, we all just want to have a little fun this time of year and think a few weeks won’t make much difference.
In actuality, EMPLOYERS ARE HIRING this time of year, and not just for seasonal/temporary jobs. Many want to have their new employee start the beginning of January, possibly sooner if they have money left in this year’s budget as it helps them to get their new employee up to speed before the year starts. And while it’s easy to allow ourselves to be busy with holiday activities, you don’t want to miss the opportunities that exist for those that keep working their job search strategies during the holidays.
Not only do employers hire people in November and December, but there are less people applying for the available jobs, so you have a better chance to be noticed if you stay active with your job search.
The holidays also present more opportunities to meet up with people. Too many people think networking is only for work-related functions. Use any social events to network. You may be surprised to learn that your neighbor, who works in a completely different career area, has a friend who works somewhere you would like to work.
7 Tips for Job Searching During the Holiday Season:
- Keep to a schedule with networking, contacting companies, getting your applications in. December is a busy month for hiring.
- Attend as many social events as your schedule allows, and seek the help of your family and friends with your job search. This may seem awkward for some people, but with good preparation, it can help you.
- Be prepared with what to say. You may have an elevator speech that you use for other job-search networking events, but you might want to change that a bit with family and friends. The topic of work will likely come up in a more casual way, and you can say, “I’m currently in transition with my career, and I’m looking for my next opportunity working in…. Is there anyone you know who might be helpful to talk to?” This keeps it positive, focused on moving forward.
- You have to ask for a little more help. Family and friends really do want to help, but they may not know how. If a friend suggests contacting someone, and tells you to mention their name, try to take it a step further. Tell them, “Thanks! Would you be willing to call that person, or send an email to introduce me?” This gives you a much better chance as their call or email is not likely to be lost or ignored.
- Consider temporary work. Many companies have vacation schedules to work around, and end-of-year crunches to get some things finished in this budget year. It may give you a foot-in-the-door to a company you have your eyes on. There is also seasonal work within the retail and hospitality industries, which, even if your long term goal is not for those areas, working a few weeks can help you make new contacts and lead to jobs you may not have considered, plus a little extra income is nice.
- If you’re in the interview process, be extra patient at this time of year. It may be harder for some companies to get things organized with some of the decision makers out of the office more at this time of year.
- Remember to volunteer some time during the holidays. This helps in a few ways – When unemployed, budgets are often tight. Giving of your time, in your community, will often make the holidays more enjoyable, and along the way, you may meet people who can be helpful in your job search.
As a job seeker, this is your busy season. Have fun, but keep working your job search plan so your New Year may be a little brighter.
By Alicia Philipp, MS, LPC, NCC,