With shopping, vacations and just the general desire to avoid stress during this jolly time of year, the holidays may be a tempting time to take a break from the job search. Nobody’s hiring during the holidays—who is going to look at your resume if everyone is on vacation, right?
Forget all the myths surrounding the holiday job search. ‘Tis the season to land a job and bring a little extra holiday cheer into your lives. Here’s how:
1. Your Competition is at the Mall
Many people believe that no one hires between Thanksgiving and the middle of January. That couldn’t be further from the truth—lots of companies are finalizing their budgeting for the following calendar year, and making hiring decisions accordingly – IN SPITE OF WHAT YOU READ IN THE NEWSPAPER.
While it may be the season of good will, there’s nothing wrong in taking advantage of others’ misguided beliefs: many drop their job search for the period, crowding department stores and leaving the career path completely open for those smart enough to take advantage of the situation. Not all those with the power to hire are on vacation, so get those resumes out there as often as possible and let others miss out on the opportunities that presented themselves.
2. Take Advantage of the Holiday Cheer
We all know that most jobs don’t even make it to the job boards—they are either filled internally or through word of mouth recommendations. Holidays give you a great excuse to check in with your network and find out what might be available. Get your foot in the door with an informational interview, especially at a time when everyone is in the holiday spirit. The positive vibes will only enhance the mood and make the process a little less stressful and more rewarding. Whether you get the job during December or early next year, the holidays are the perfect time to position yourself as the right person for the job.
3. Holiday Cards are Not Just for Loved Ones
There’s more to the job search than submitting your resume for every opening you find. It’s about maintaining your contacts and keeping your name top of mind with those involved in the hiring process. So when you are mailing those holiday cards out, take the time to send some holiday well-wishes to those in your professional network—especially to that one guy who called you in June and said, “It was down between you and another candidate and we felt he fit our current needs better at this time.” A correspondence to touch base, discuss holiday plans and send well-wishes may spark a memory of how well-received you were earlier in the year, and the idea that you’d be a perfect fit for that position that just opened up. Maybe your resume needs some help, or maybe lots of help. Get it in shape BEFORE you need it.
4. Companies Make New Year’s Resolutions Too
Everyone starts out with high hopes for the coming year; and every company will want to start off 2011 with a bang. In order to get the ball rolling, they will want to hire in December and spend the remainder of their budget for 2010 in the process. The end of the year is the perfect time to spend what’s left–why shouldn’t that extra budget item be you?
5. Parties are Networking Opportunities
If all else fails, take advantage of holiday gatherings involving friends and/or family. You never know who will be there, and it may open up some opportunities for you to make a good impression. Make sure to have a good time, share your job search story without coming across as desperate or pushy, and try to meet as many new people as possible while solidifying your existing relationships. And whatever you do, don’t drink too much or ruin someone else’s experience with a sob story. Do all of that and you just might bump into the contact who follows up when she says: “email me your resume when you get a chance and I’ll see what I can do.” At the very least, these parties allow you to sharpen up your networking skills. And those will come in handy at all those future interviews that will come up because you remained persistent with your job search while everyone else was out making snow angels.