Blog

Holiday Season Job Hunting

Tis the Season for Parties -- and Job Hunting!

Does hiring come to a halt as the holiday's approach? Is the Holiday Season a good time to find a new job?

Office parties, professional get-togethers, and year-end meetings abound during the Holiday Season. While it may be tempting to put your search on hold, that could put you at a disadvantage.

When organizations have a need, they hire regardless of the time of year. As companies complete their financial planning for 2017, they're under pressure to fill certain openings or risk losing budgets. Hiring managers with new goals are eager to find productive workers.

Because many hiring managers don't travel much during the holidays, they may have time to meet with job seekers. Several organizations interview in December for positions starting in the New Year. 

The fact that many potential candidates don't job hunt during the holidays is another advantage. Those who plan to leave, wait until the New Year so they can receive year-end bonuses. Others take vacations.

Some successful candidates begin new jobs between Christmas and New Year. Starting work during the holidays can be a bonus. The work pace is usually slower, and new employees have time to settle in. Seasoned employees have time to answer questions.

The interview process may take longer than normal as interviewers take a few days off. That can work to your advantage. You'll have time to prepare and have a foot in the door in the New Year.

Holiday Job Search Tips

-- Be prepared. Know yourself and job target. Specify your preferred job title and industry, your special skills and accomplishments, and what you can offer the company (value added). Match your qualifications to employers' needs. Know key industry words to describe your skills.

-- Investigate jobs and prospective employers. Consider small and medium-sized companies. Be resourceful. Check the classifieds, online job boards, local newspapers, business and trade publications, and company websites. Use Google and other search engines to learn about organizations and identify decision makers of desired companies.

-- Use social media. Build an online professional profile on Linkedin and Twitter to expand your network. Employers research potential candidates. Ensure information about your professional accomplishments and background is current. Keep personal life private on Facebook; ensure privacy settings are secure.

Consider industry-related Twitter chats to communicate with the right people. Share information by retweeting, forwarding links, articles. Contemplate sharing work on high traffic sites like YouTube.

-- Prepare an elevator pitch. This mini speech introduces yourself, describes your experience, accomplishments and skills, demonstrates your value added and indicates what you like about the organization. Give speeches over the phone, in person, at professional or other gatherings.

Call hiring managers. Before phoning, investigate the organization and hiring manager. Ask for two minutes. Give your speech conversationally, demonstrating how you can help resolve employer challenges like save money, manage people. Be friendly, genuine.  

-- Create a separate resume for each job target. Also, design a business card that highlights areas of expertise and directs recipients to your resume in an accessible format, such as the URL for a web page.

-- Network at holiday events. Attend as many functions as possible. Include events sponsored by professional associations and Chambers of Commerce. Ask for invitations to friends' company functions. Go with the objective of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Learning about a great position before it's advertised is a bonus.

-- Present a professional image. Dress conservatively and stay sober. Discuss business in general terms. Talk about industry trends, and what you've contributed to your profession. Briefly, update others about your situation. Emphasize positive aspects of your search, such as the intriguing people you've met.

Be sociable, informal. Don't aggressively ask for employment information. When work topics come up, casually mention your job search. Discreetly exchange business cards with professional contacts. Follow-up with phone calls in the New Year.

-- Send holiday greeting cards and emails. Mail these to well-connected friends and work-related contacts. To be culturally sensitive use generic cards with messages like "Season's Greetings." Personalize cards with a pre-printed signature. Write a short note and sign your name. Mail cards early in the season.

-- Volunteer. You'll meet new people, learn about job opportunities, and gain experience and a sense of well-being. 

-- Take a survival job. Temporary work can stretch finances and may lead to a permanent position. Employers often need temporary workers as they try to complete annual goals with regular employees wanting vacation time.

-- Maintain a flexible schedule. Allocate time for job search and relaxation or holiday celebrations. Be available, adaptable. A prospective employer may unexpectedly call. If you're accessible, you have an advantage.

-- Follow-up.  Contact hiring managers within two weeks of sending correspondence. A brief phone call that reasserts your interest and strong qualifications for the position is effective.

Persist. You may get your Christmas wish.

Dr. Carole Kanchier is a registered psychologist, coach, speaker, internationally syndicated columnist and author of the award-winning, groundbreaking, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life. Contact: carole@questerdaretochange.com