As the holiday season quickly approaches, with all of the other demands that arise, you might be considering taking a break from your job search. BIG mistake! Despite popular belief, hiring does not come to a halt over the holidays. In fact, many organizations seek to fill job openings by the end of year that have already been allotted for the current year’s budget, while other organizations are planning ahead and eager to have new employees on board as soon as the new year begins.
- Attend Holiday Events: Tis the season to socialize and be merry with your family, friends, neighbors, community, and various other groups. In addition, many regional professional associations will have a holiday luncheon or end of year networking event. Plan to arrive prepared with a 30 second standard greeting that is positive and informative. Ask lots of questions to elicit a conversation or develop a connection. Create tasteful business cards with your name, phone number and email address. This is one of the most fruitful networking times of the year!
- Make the Calls: Holidays can be a good time to catch recruiters, hiring managers, and others at work but be smart, prepared and strategic. Don’t just start cold calling. Use the quieter time to follow up on an application, reconnect, and ask insightful questions. Also, think of someone who is in a position or industry of interest to you – send them an email introduction and follow up with a phone call to set up an informational interview.
- Set a Schedule: It is easy to become distracted so set up a plan for the holiday season. Schedule your days and set SMART goals. For example, "Every weekday I will submit two applications and I will contribute to a minimum of two discussions on LinkedIn. Each week I will reach out and connect with five contacts in my network." This Career Planning Guide might help!
- Know Your Industry: Depending on your goals and your targeted industry you will want to tailor your approach to looking for work during the holiday season. For example, teachers will have between now and a school district's winter break to connect with school personnel. In addition, some industries offer temporary, seasonal positions that have the potential to lead to full-time positions or serve to add additional skills to your resume and expand your network.
- Volunteer: Volunteering can be emotionally and spiritually uplifting. It is also a great way to network and connect with others in your community. Helping others really does help you too. Send Holiday Cards: Send a holiday card to everyone on your networking list. Pick a non-religious card that is both seasonal and professional.
- Stay Optimistic: Most hiring managers tend to be more receptive to job seekers who express confidence and have an optimistic frame of mind. Use the holidays to renew and appreciate the good in your life. Also, it is okay to take a little "holiday" from job searching. Make sure to take time for activities that you enjoy and find rejuvenating.
- Contact WGU Career & Professional Development: Need a resume reviewed, your LinkedIn profile updated, or interview practice? A WGU Career Advisor is just a phone call or email away.