Job Searching During the Holidays

By Joe Stein

It is that time of year again; a period that many job seekers dread. It is the feared “Bermuda Triangle” of job searching…the holiday season.
 
This time of year does not have to be so horrible. In fact because so many job seekers mistakenly “drop out” out of the process temporarily during this time, it can be a great time to job search. You should be, however, aware of some unique opportunities and challenges during this time of the year. A savvy Job Seeker factors into their search these unique items in order to ensure success.
 
It is also just not true that all companies slow down their hiring during this time of year. The following are some reasons why this is a good time of year to be job searching.
 
·         Many companies actually place a full-court press on filling positions prior to the end of the year due to budget concerns. For many companies, funding will be lost if a position is not filled by the end-of-year.
 
·         For others, they will recruit heavily in November and December, hoping to identify candidates to start in January when a new budget is activated. 
 
·         Recruiters and Headhunters are often eager to fill positions this time of year to either hit quotas or to make commissions for needed holiday money.
 
 
Use the holidays to your advantage:
 
·         Network at Holiday Gatherings –   If you will be invited to holiday gatherings over the next couple of months then, by all means, attend. These events will provide you exposure to a wide-range of individuals in different fields and industries. 
  • Be respectful that the audience is there to celebrate the holidays and get together. Don’t make the whole event your job search.
  • Watch your dress and alcohol consumption. You are potentially seeking lead referrals from people; you want them to be comfortable that you won’t embarrass them.
  • Be prepared with your contact information. A business card works well because it provides your basic contact information in a format that is easy for someone to slip into their pocket.
  • Don’t just focus on strangers, but rather spend time with friends and family. They can be great resources of job leads.
 
·         Send “Job Search Holiday Cards” –   Sending a card around the holidays to everyone in your “Rolodex” is a great way to reach out to someone during this time of year. Be sure to include a brief note regarding your job status and your request for any leads. If you are currently interviewing with people, a card is a great way to remind them about your candidacy. Avoid any specific card out of respect for religious diversity, a simple “Happy Holidays’ will do the trick.
 
·         Call and Reconnect – This is a great time of year to call someone and wish them “Happy Holidays”. Reconnect and update each other regarding what has happened since you last spoke. If you do this, then it will naturally lead to you mentioning your current job search status. Casually mention to keep in touch if they hear anything lead-wise. Don’t end the conversation without making sure that the person has updated contact information for you. If you are not sure if you have the latest contact information for someone, then check resources such as an Industry Directory or a Social Networking website, such as Linked-In.
 
·         Consider a Seasonal Job – Sometimes, during this time of year a company will bring a person on-board for a couple of months to provide additional assistance. This may be a great opportunity for you to “get your foot in the door” with a company that you are interested in.
 
 
Holiday Job Seeker Tips:
 
·         Be Flexible – Manage your schedule around the vacation schedules of the individuals you are interviewing with. If you are in active job search mode, don’t plan on taking an extended vacation yourself. Sometimes, a Hiring Manager who travels constantly will be in the office around the holidays, preferring to be close to home. This may require you to be flexible in order to connect with him or her.
 
·         Be Accessible – During this time of year, you may get a call with a short-notice schedule request because a time opening has been created. If you are not available for that call, you may just miss out.
 
·         Be Patient – Since you may encounter vacations during the holidays, your discussions with a specific company may have some starts and stops to it. Overall, the process may take a little longer than normal. Be patient and don’t ever let any discouragement show to the prospective employer.
 
·         Get Started Right Away – It is very tempting to want to wait until after Thanksgiving or Christmas in order to spend time with family or just to relax. While maintaining a balance is important it is imperative that you start your search as soon as possible. On average, it will take approximately 1 month for every $10,000 in income you desire. If you take a couple of months off, that will really extend your job search.
 
·         Set Goals – Sometimes it is hard to stay motivated during the holiday season. Establish a schedule for your job search with goals regarding contacts and leads. This will help alleviate the malaise of the season.
 
 
Many Job Seekers make this time of year a self-fulfilling prophecy. They don’t believe they will find a job, so they don’t work hard on their search and then, lo- and –behold, they find, in January, that they do not have a job. Don’t make the same mistake! The holiday season can be an excellent time of year to search for a job…if you are a savvy Job Seeker.
  
As always, best of luck in your job search.