It’s tempting to put your job hunt on hold during the end-of-year holiday season. “I need a break,” you may tell yourself. “No one’s hiring this time of year anyway. I’ll double down on my efforts in January.”
It doesn’t help that everyone else seems to be having fun, and job hunting is—for most of us—not fun.
But contrary to popular belief, many employers do hire over the holidays. Personal lives may get more hectic this time of year, but many businesses slow down, giving the powers-that-be breathing space to think about staffing and even conduct interviews. Many companies are putting the pieces in place for 2011 projects and want to bring new people on board before then.
In fact, in some ways, the holidays are the best time to find a job. Here are ten good reasons why you should ramp up your job search during the holiday season:
1. Your competition is likely taking time off. Many other people are slacking off on their job hunts this time of year, which makes it the perfect time to blow past the competition.
2. The holidays are primo networking time. You’ll probably attend more parties, open houses, happy hours, and cookie exchanges. All of these events are opportunities to expand your network. And a huge network is what every job seeker needs.
3. The holidays are a great time to reconnect. This is the time of the year when it’s natural to get back in touch with neighbors, former neighbors, extended family, former professors, former bosses and co-workers, college roommates, people you met at seminars—get the picture? A greeting from you puts you back at the top of their radar.
4. Potential bosses may be more likely to answer their own phones this time of year. With the receptionist on vacation, you could end up talking with the hiring manager. So if you’re good at cold calling, this is your moment to shine!
5. It shows you're serious about finding the right position. It’s impressive to be out there networking, setting up interviews, and making cold calls when everybody else is chowing down on sugar cookies and sipping eggnog. Continuing to look over the holidays shows a potential employer that you're diligent and mean business.
6. Companies may have money to spare in this year’s budget. Yes, the unemployment rate is high, but business profits maybe also be high. Some employers are looking for ways to allocate the rest of their hiring budgets for the year. Put yourself front and center, and they may spend that money on you.
7. You’ll take advantage of January turnover. Businesses may hire at the end of the year if they anticipate turnover in January. This especially applies to companies that give year-end bonuses, since employees who plan to leave often wait until after receiving their bonus.
8. Hiring managers may act mellower, or at least more open, during the holidays. No one wants to be a Scrooge. Plus, surviving the holidays is an ideal topic for small talk, a great tool for establishing rapport.
9. Maintaining your job search helps you keep your momentum. Dropping it and then trying to pick it up again a month later can actually take more energy and resolve than sticking with it.
10. Finally, January is one of the biggest hiring months of the year. And when did all those interviews and follow-ups for January hires take place? You got it—in December.
So chase away those holiday blues by stepping up your job search. Be flexible and willing to interview at “inconvenient” times. Making yourself available and eager during the holidays may be more effective than you'd expect.
Karen Burns is the author of the illustrated career advice book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, recently released by Running Press. She blogs at www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com.