Holiday Hope for Job Seekers

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Over the years, I’ve always been amazed at the number of job seekers that decide to put their search in neutral during the holidays. Whether the reason given is ”No one’s hiring,” or “I need a break,” the end result is the same, nothing done from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day.

Shutting down the job search over the holidays is one of the worse mistakes that a job seeker can make.   While it is true that during this time some companies slow down or stop their recruitment process, its important to remember, opportunities exist because:

  1.  Companies may loose key employees just before the holidays. If you had the luxury of landing a brand new job that starts in January, wouldn’t you consider giving notice and taking some of the holiday time to be with family and friends! This is great for the departing employee, but not so for the company that is losing him or her.
  2. Fourth quarter is the “use it or lose it” time for some departments.In other words, if a department doesn’t use it annual budget allocations, before the end of the year, the Scrooges in finance assume the department doesn’t need it and it disappears from the next year’s budget. The result of “use it or “lose it” can be a hiring frenzy right up until New Year’s Eve.
  3. Companies get ready for the January 1 kick off date. Companies are run by people and for some reason people generally use January 1 as a kick off date for big goals or to establish the momentum for the year. Just think about how many of us start our proverbial diets on January 1st! Managers who want to hit the ground running on January 1, they will try to add staff members in November/December before the big January push.

Taking Advantage of the Holidays

Jobseekers can turn what most think is a dead season into an opportunity season. Smart candidates know there will be less competition for job openings during the holidays, since many jobseekers go on hiatus during the holidays. Some tips:

  1. Network, network, network. Generally, people are in better moods during the holidays, so what better time to attend events, network and let people know that you’re in the market.   Need an ice breaker – talk about the holidays – lack of parking at the mall, the latest weather prediction for a white Christmas, or just admire the wonderful pine smell coming from the tree can be great icebreakers.
  2. Reconnect with family or old friends. Use the holidays as an excuse to reconnect with people who have helped you with your job search, mentors, recruiters, and representatives from companies that you have interviewed with. Make a quick call to wish them holiday cheer and let them know that you are in the market. There are very few people who will say “Bah Humbug” to someone reaching out over the holidays as long as you don’t monopolize a lot of their time.
  3. Send an old-fashioned holiday card. In conjunction with reconnecting, why not send a greeting card to your new, old and re-established connections. People may get a lot of holiday cards, but they won’t get a lot of cards from former candidates or potential employees. If you are worried that someone may not remember you, add a quick note, 1-2 sentences, that will tweak their memory. Just remember to go the old-fashioned route and use paper cards and not e-cards or email.
  4. Strongly consider temporary work assignments for the holidays. Work diligently and cheerfully while you are there. It gives that hiring manager first hand experience with you and if they like what they see, they will consider you for full time openings.