“Holiday job search? Companies don’t hire in November and December, right? Maybe it makes more sense to wait until the new year to dive into my search.”
If this is your thinking, you’re missing out on opportunities to make headway in your job search, when your competitors have taken that misguided notion to heart, and put their searches on hold.
Many companies have openings to fill right now and other new openings will be coming around, before the new year.
Holiday job-hunting offers unique circumstances to network – at office parties, family/friends get-togethers, and other holiday events – that we don’t typically see at other times of year.
You’ll have more opportunities to meet and speak with recruiters, hiring decision makers at your target companies, and others who can help you with your career goals. They won’t be inundated with meeting requests, like they probably will as soon as January gets here.
Take advantage of the fact that there’s less competition right now because so many others will put their job search on hold until the first of the year. Fewer candidates are jockeying to position themselves in front of hiring decision makers and vying for their attention. Your network and new contacts are probably not overwhelmed by requests right now, and you have the opportunity to make inroads.
Strategies for a Successful Holiday Job Search
Career expert Alison Doyle agrees that there are more networking opportunities during the holidays:
“You couldn’t pick a better time of year for networking. There are many social and business holiday functions during November and December when you can connect with people who can help your job search. Don’t be shy. Most people are thrilled to have the opportunity to pay it forward by helping you out, especially during the season of giving.
Consider getting a business card made with your contact information and the URL of your LinkedIn page, if you have one. Bring a supply with you to give to the people you meet at networking events and holiday parties. Have an elevator pitch ready so you can quickly share information on your background.”
She offered another reason why hiring continues through the hoolidays:
“Hiring used to be seasonal. Now it’s on-demand. If a company decides that they need a new employee or if a current employee moves on, they won’t wait to start the hiring process. If you’re hiring ready, you’ll be positioned for job search success.”
With the “Great Resignation” (so many people quitting their jobs during the pandemic), on-demand hiring is even more the norm.
Set yourself up to succeed in your holiday (or any time of year) job search
Whether you’re just starting out or continuing your job search during the holidays, you’ll need to do all the important initial steps: targeting, research and defining your personal brand. My job search worksheets will help you.
Don’t forget to update your resume, LinkedIn profile and any other job search materials. Make sure that all of these supporting documents and profiles communicate your personal brand and clearly position you as someone your target employers need.
Get your list of references in order. Are you ready to send potential employers a list of several people qualified to verify your strengths, character, qualifications and good-fit for their needs? Weak (or in any way negative) references can kill your chances of being made an offer. If it’s been a while since you created your reference list, you may need to replace people with others. Be sure to ask everyone if it’s okay to include them on your list, and let them know what things you’d like them to say about you, when they’re contacted.
And while you’re at it, self-Google and do a sweeping assessment of your social media presence and overall online presence. What are people seeing when they Google “your name”?
If very few search results appear when you Google “your name”, it’s time to get busy building a stronger online presence. Hiring professionals gravitate towards candidates with a more robust online footprint. It provides them more information to quickly assess you and it serves as social proof, backing up the claims you’ve made about yourself in your resume.
Lean into LinkedIn, especially. Build out your profile and get involved with posting updates, connecting, Groups, and other activities the site offers. My Essential LinkedIn Guide will help you.
Networking things to do in November and December, if you’re job searching:
- Refine your networking skills.
- Volunteer your time at organizations that need your expertise, and practice give-to-get networking – you may be able to connect with people who can give you some solid leads.
- Reevaluate and rework your career/job search goals.
- Seek out new contacts.
- Touch base with your existing network. Thank them for leads and the help they’ve provided. Share season’s greetings. Send out hand-addressed holiday cards with meaningful hand-written messages.
- Remind everyone you know (personally and professionally) that you’re actively looking. But be careful who you tell, if you’re job hunting under cover.
- Take time to “hide out” and reflect, but don’t give up on job search entirely.
- Attend formal and informal networking events, like holiday parties.
- Attend professional association meetings and job search workshops at your local Career Center.