Despite common misconceptions, job hunting during the holiday season is actually an opportune time to find your next job. Here’s why:
1. You’ve got more time to search for a job since work has slowed down. If you’re still working while looking for another job, chances are you will have a little downtime during the holiday season. Finding the time to make an interview during your lunch break or taking off a couple hours earlier may be easier for you.
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2. Your competitor job seekers may not be looking. With so many people competing for the same job, now is the time to jump in full force to your job hunt. Since so many people think the holiday time isn’t the time to look, your competitors may have taken a break, while you’re out meeting and greeting the right people to get hired. Many companies want to close out their open requisitions and have a new hire start in the new year.
3. It’s a perfect time to meet the people who may be hiring later. Even if the company of your dreams isn’t hiring right this instant, the slowness during the holidays is an opportunity for you to get on the hiring manager’s radar. Introduce yourself via email, phone, or even at a party. You’ll be more likely to catch them in the office when you call.
4. Holiday networking opportunities abound. Holiday parties are a ripe location to meet new contacts. The fact that everyone is in a better mood at these festive events gives you the opportunity to really connect on a personal level, which will help you in the long run.
5. People are more laid back. It’s easier to get to know them during the holidays. Sometimes meeting people is difficult if they think you’ve got an agenda. This time of year, it’s all about being merry and bright, so lay off the pitch and work on personal conversation.
6. End-of-year budgets may provide hiring opportunities now rather than in January. Occasionally, a company’s end-of-year budget works in your favor. If there’s surplus money in the employment category, a company may want to hurry and hire before the year is through.
7. Holiday cards are the perfect excuse to remind hiring managers that you’re available. While sending holiday cards should be a thoughtful and selfless act, it doesn’t hurt to let recipients know you’re available should they be hiring. Make the announcement subtle and not the purpose of your card, and include a personalized note in the card.
8. Freelancing while everyone else is on vacation might get your foot in the door. Another great “in” to the job market this time of year is freelancing. If others are taking vacations but work needs to be done, there might be the opportunity to fill a role part-time or temporary position. Once you’re in the door, it’s up to you to make yourself indispensable.
If you have time, here are some tips for your holiday job hunting:
Attend networking and holiday events. This could include a lead or networking group, or many overlooked events like an end-of-the-year neighborhood party or an event at your child’s school.
Once you meet someone of influence, guide the conversation toward the hiring climate at the company. Don’t pitch yourself immediately, but get a feel for whether they’re hiring now. If you maneuver the conversation well, he or she may ask you what you’re looking for, and be ready to help.
Spend time developing relationships. Come January you’ll be back to competing with the rest, so send out as many invites for lunch or coffee meetings as you can handle during the holidays.
Putting a little extra effort into your job hunt and networking this time of year may be the best present you could give yourself!
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.