Use the Holiday Slowdown to Your Advantage

 In Career Tips, Job Search Strategy

Use the Holiday Slowdown to Your AdvantangeThere is a big misconception that companies stop hiring during the holidays. Definitely not true!  While the holidays do result in somewhat of a slow down, employers are still interviewing and hiring – some trying to use budget allocations before year-end, others getting new hires in place for January 1 when new budget dollars kick in. In fact, a survey conducted by ExecuNet revealed that 69% of recruiters report they placed as many, or even more, candidates in December than in any other month. Keeping your job search active will not only get you to the front of the line for these openings, but because other job seekers believe the “no-hire-in December” myth and are slacking off, you will have less competition.

Here are a few more reasons why this is an ideal time to be job hunting and strategies to implement.

1. Multitude of networking/volunteer opportunities
Holiday gatherings provide a relaxed, festive setting for networking. From local business and chamber of commerce events and trade association meetings to neighborhood gatherings, childrens’ school events, church functions, and family parties, the possibilities are endless. Look at your invitations and prioritize according to who could be in attendance – instead of attending the same events that you’ve been to over the past six months, try something different where there is potential to meet new people who could be sources of job leads.

Also, many nonprofits need additional help so get out there and volunteer. Not only will it boost your self-esteem, you never know who you might meet. Last year a member of a local LinkedIn group, who was unemployed, set a goal for herself to volunteer somewhere every day in December. I met her at a networking event in January and learned she had multiple job offers as a result of the people she met in December. I’m not saying that you need to make that level of commitment, but you get the concept – givers always receive … give your time and the rewards will follow!

When attending any event/activity be prepared with a 30-second sound byte that articulates the ideal position for you, your best “feature” as a candidate, and end by telling the person how they can help (i.e., “who do they know” not “do you know of any jobs”). And finally, be upbeat and positive!  This is not the time to complain about how long you’ve been out of work or how grim Christmas morning will be for your kids. Your message needs to be you are excited by new possibilities and the opportunity to utilize your skills to benefit your next employer.

2. Take advantage of the holiday spirit
From networking to interviewing, everyone seems to be in a good mood around the holidays, plus the topic of the holidays is a great icebreaker. At an interview, chit-chat about the holiday crowds or the “busi-ness” of the season are natural topics that can ease you past those awkward first few moments. Same holds true at networking events, plus people seem more open and generous this time of year, so job leads and suggestions may flow more readily.

3. Connect or reconnect through holiday greetings
The holidays are a great excuse to reach out to former clients, vendors, co-workers, bosses, mentors, or college buddies. Send a card by snail mail or email and in addition to wishing them a good holiday or happy New Year, update them on your job search. You can also reconnect with recruiters or hiring managers that you interacted with earlier in the year to remind them you are still available.

You may not have a job offer at the end of December, but by staying active you will be positioned ahead of the competition when the January hiring boom begins. The relationships you build while spreading holiday cheer can mean a successful end to your job search in 2013!

Kathy Keshemberg is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1983, she has created thousands of interview-winning resumes and related job-search materials for satisfied clients around the world. Need assistance with your career? We’re here to help!

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