Because everyone should dig their job

Job Searching During the Holiday Season

By Alison Doyle

Many job searches seem to come to a screeching halt during the holiday season. I’m not sure if it’s because job seekers presume that companies aren’t hiring, if it’s because people are busier than usual spending time on holiday activities, or it’s for some other reason.

In any case, the holiday season is a good time for job hunting. Companies are hiring as usual and there is often less competition for available jobs because a lot of those job seekers have dropped out of the job market, at least temporarily.

How to make the most of the holiday season
Use the holiday season to your advantage and make the most out of the opportunities you’ll have to connect with family, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. Also make the most of the job opportunities you come across during the holidays and don’t hesitate to apply for open positions.

Keep up your job search
Don’t stop job searching just because it’s the holidays. Businesses don’t stop running, companies don’t stop doing business, and given the tough economic climate, the companies that are hiring are being proactive when they need to get key employees on board. They aren’t stopping their recruiting and hiring just because it’s the holidays.

In fact, you will be in a better position to job search now, because of all those job seekers who aren’t looking. Job searching is a numbers game. When a company has fewer resumes to look at, your chances of getting selected for an interview increase. So, keep up your job search. Actively look for jobs – the job search engines like Indeed.com and LinkUp.com are a good way to find job listings fast. Apply as soon as you find jobs that you are qualified for, otherwise you’ll miss out on what could be an excellent opportunity.

Be flexible
Companies often want to get a new hire in place before the first of the year. The more flexible you are, the more opportunities you’ll have to interview. Be willing to juggle your schedule to arrange an interview time that’s convenient for the hiring manager.

Don’t worry about having to start a job right away, even if it conflicts with your holiday plans. What’s most important, at this point, is to secure a job offer. After you have an offer in hand you can always negotiate a starting date that’s convenient for both you and your future employer.

Connect with your online contacts
Take some time, if you haven’t already done so, to create online profiles. If you already have profiles, spend time updating and optimizing them. Every job seeker should have a presence on LinkedIn and Facebook. Make sure you profile is fully completed with employment, education, and other relevant information included. Ask your LinkedIn connections for references, so you are well positioned to apply for jobs you find on LinkedIn.

Check to see who you know that you aren’t connected with and add them to your lists of contacts. The more contacts you have, the more people you have who can provide career advice and job search help. Don’t forget the flip side: answer questions and offer to assist your contacts, as well. People are typically more willing to help those who offer to help them.

Also, take the time to touch base with your LinkedIn connections and your Facebook friends. This is a perfect time of year to just say hello, send a holiday greeting, and remind your contacts that you’re seeking work or looking for a career change.

Make the most of networking opportunities
The holiday season is full of opportunities to network. Look at every event you attend as a chance to meet someone who can help with your job search. Use holiday parties, family gatherings, receptions, community activities, and other special events as a way to enhance your employment opportunities. You never know who you might meet who may be able to assist.

An easy way to network is to bring some business cards printed with your name, phone number, email address, and even the URL of your LinkedIn profile. You can pass them out to contacts and they will serve as a reminder that you’re job searching, as well as an easy way to remember how to get in touch with you.

Work on your resume
The end of the year is a good time to get all your job search materials in order. Update and revamp your resume. Be sure it showcases all your skills and experiences, is well-written, and is polished and professional in appearance.

Send a holiday or new year’s card
A really good way to make a positive impression is the old-fashioned way. Buy a couple of boxes of holiday greeting cards and some stamps, and take the time to hand write thank you notes to those special people who have assisted with your job search or helped you achieve your career goals.

Everyone likes to be thanked and the holiday season is a perfect opportunity to say thank you to the people who made a difference to your job search throughout this year.

Take some time for yourself
Regardless of how badly you need a job, and I know how tough it can be, take a break and take some time for yourself. The holiday memories you make with your family and friends will linger much longer than the memories of the resumes you sent or the cover letters you wrote.

Dedicate time to your job search, but be sure to spend some personal time on the holidays, even if you don’t feel much like celebrating. In the long run, taking a break and a bit of time off can rejuvenate and refocus your job search and help you when you get back on track.