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Holiday Job Search Advice: ‘Tis the Season to Get Hired

11/15/2011 4:38 pm

Online University Student Seeking a JobThe holiday season is a terrible time to find a new job, right? Isn’t that what conventional wisdom says?

Well, maybe. But sometimes going against conventional wisdom may be the wisest decision you can make. Keeping your job search alive during the winter holidays is likely one of those times.

In fact, because the window between Thanksgiving and the end of January is a window job-seekers so often close, it could be the perfect window of opportunity for go-getters like you.

The holiday job search isn’t just about holiday jobs; now could be the time to nab the position that launches your career to the next level. WGU’s Alumni and Career Services share holiday job search advice in the recent webinar, “Job Search through the Holidays.”

Why shouldn’t I take the holidays off?

Many people put their search on hold during the holidays, thinking no one is hiring as the year comes to an end.

But if other job-seekers are taking a break, that just means you’ll have less competition.

And while it’s true that business activity often slows during the winter months, many factors can actually add up to increased hiring. In the final months of the year, many employers are deep into planning for the coming year, which often includes looking to fill openings and create new positions.

Departments often have budget deadlines at the end of the year. If they aren’t using the money, they may lose it the next year. To hold on to that piece of the organizational pie, department managers may be more open to bringing on new team members as the year comes to an end.

Sure, the hiring process may be slower, with hiring managers and committee members on vacation or preoccupied with the holidays. But the process does not come to a halt. And because business is slower, you may be able to more easily contact the hiring manager, or the hiring manager may have extra time to focus on looking at candidates.

And even if the actual hiring decision isn’t made during the down time, it’s a great time to lay the groundwork. It’s easier to get noticed by hiring managers when their daily work volume is lower. Use the lull in activity to get to know the company and get known by the decision-makers so you have a good head start when the process shifts back into gear in the new year.

Tips for a successful holiday job search

  • Change your mind set. Take a positive attitude and focus on your opportunities for success.
  • Make an action plan. Schedule time for doing work related to your job search. This is always important, but especially during the busy holiday season when other obligations can get in the way
  • Take advantage of holiday good will. People are in a good mood during the holidays. Capitalizing on the chance to make good connections and build good relationships isn’t cynical; it’s smart
  • Find a job search buddy.
  • Monitor job boards.
  • Volunteer.

Should I take a temporary holiday job?

In some industries, even if permanent positions aren’t being filled during the holidays, temporary or seasonal work is available. Temporary employment can be

  • Your foot in the door of a company or organization.
  • A critical networking opportunity.
  • A good resume builder.
  • A chance to keep your professional and people skills sharp.

Overlooked holiday opportunities

  • Volunteering: It’s good for networking. It’s also good for your state of mind and can go a long way in keeping your spirits up.
  • Holiday parties hosted in your neighborhood, at your kid’s school, by your partner’s employer, through community organizations, etc.
  • Family gatherings
  • Professional association events

Just remember that, no matter what time of year, searching for your next job often requires stepping out of your comfort zone and putting your best foot forward. Attend events prepared with a quick introduction of yourself, your work background, and the type of work you’re looking for.

Share your stories

Do you buy into the idea that the holidays are a bad time to find a job? Are you searching now, or have you been hired as a result of sticking with your job search during previous holiday seasons? What’s your advice? Leave a comment below!

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