It is a total myth that companies don’t hire during the holidays. Employers hire all 12 months of the year. In fact, many new positions are funded to start with a new budget year — which often coincides with a new calendar year. Other hiring managers have hiring budgets that must be spent before the end of the year — “use it or lose it.” Both of these scenarios offer many opportunities for jobseekers in December.
Working on your job search during the holidays may also mean less competition from other candidates. Many people wait until January — making it a New Year’s Resolution — to look for a new job. If you wait to start your job search, you’ll have more competition.
But, what should you do? Here are 12 specific strategies you can use over the next few weeks to gear up for your holiday job search:
- Accept all invitations you receive for holiday parties and get-togethers. Whether it’s a social or charity event, dinner party, spouse’s Christmas party, or professional association event, use these opportunities to reacquaint yourself with people who might be useful in your job search, and make new connections. Be sure to follow-up after the event. As we always say, the follow-up is the key to every job search!
- Re-connect with old friends and colleagues. Your network can be a great source of information, job leads, and referrals. And, this season is a great time to do just that. Get back in touch with previous co-workers and supervisors, people from high school and college, former neighbors, etc. Let them know what type of position you are looking for – including job titles, duties, etc.
- Host your own holiday party. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or elaborate. Hosting your own holiday open house, dinner party, or get-together can help jumpstart your job search (but that shouldn’t be the focus of your party, of course!). However, extending an invitation is a great excuse to reach out and talk with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while!
- Ask for specific information or help. We are always reminding our clients about this. People love to help, but they need to be told what to do. For example, ask if the person knows anyone who works at “x” company instead of asking if they know of anyone hiring. During the holidays, your contacts might have more time to be of assistance, and they might be in a mood to be generous!
- Volunteer. There are many opportunities during the holidays to give your time to charities and organizations. Some of these opportunities might also help you build your network, make new connections, and bolster your resume.
- Use holiday cards to connect. If cards, letters, and e-greetings are part of your end-of-the-year tradition, mentioning your job search can be a useful strategy. Let people know you’re looking!
- Create a business networking card. Develop a business card that lists your contact information and social media links — especially to your LinkedIn profile. Don’t forget to use your personal email address, not your current employer’s email address!
- Update your social media presence. If you don’t yet have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to create it. If you have one, give it a fresh look by increasing your Connections or Recommendations. We offer a 30-Day course to sharpen up your LinkedIn for less than $10!
- Look for opportunities to get your foot in the door. If you’re currently unemployed, look for temporary or seasonal jobs that may lead to full-time positions. They are literally everywhere.
- Connect with recruiters. Many are trying to reach year-end recruiting goals at this time of the year, and you may have just the skills they are looking for.
- Set a specific goal for your job search. Instead of setting a goal to get a new job (which can be stressful), your goal might be to make a certain number of new connections on LinkedIn or to schedule a certain number of informational interviews. Making progress on this type of goal will ultimately help you achieve your goal of a new job. Action = Results.
- Make sure you’re reachable. You might be asked to interview at unusual times – for example, the day before Christmas. This goes without saying – Keep your phone on – and make sure you’re checking your voice mail and email regularly!
What do you think? Could you implement a few of these strategies over the next few weeks? Let us know how it goes in the comments!