Job Hunting During the Holidays
- Tuesday, December 22, 2009
True or False? Job hunting during the holidays is a waste of time. Surprisingly, the previous statement is false; job hunting during the end of the year can be a really smart strategy.
Why Bother with Job Shopping When You'd Rather Be Christmas Shopping?
Here are some of the reasons that holiday job hunting can be very effective:
- Reduced competition: Since many job hunters think it's a waste of time to job hunt during the holidays, they don't send resumes directly to companies during December. They mistakenly think that their resume and cover letter will be lost amidst the Christmas mail or that employers won't be hiring. These are both false assumptions. Your resume may in fact receive more attention because fewer resumes are being received. You can therefore be one of a few applicants instead of one of several hundred.
- More access to decision makers: Business travel slows at the end of the year, and holiday vacations have not yet begun. It often is easier to connect with hiring managers during this time.
- Companies have to fill job openings before the end of the year: Many companies have budgets that have to be spent before the end of the year. They therefore want to fill some positions immediately so they don't lose budget funding for the following year. Other companies need to fill positions to be ready for the next year's projects, so they either hire before the end of the year or engage in interviewing and selecting candidates to be hired in January.
- Holiday spirit: People tend to be in good spirits during the holidays and are socializing more frequently. Job hunters can use both of these factors to their advantage!
Quick Tips for Holiday Job Hunting
- View holiday events as a venue for finding potential job leads. Who knows who you'll meet at your neighbor's Christmas coffee? You never know who will be the person with that key job lead.
You will avoid being offensive when you communicate genuine interest in the person. As you're talking to people, you can ask them what they do. They'll probably ask you the same question in return. Describe your work background and career goals before mentioning that you are job hunting. Be prepared with a one-sentence description of the type of position you are seeking. If a person doesn't offer a suggestion or contact, you can just casually hand them a personal business card with your contact information, and let them know you would appreciate them letting you know if they think of anyone. You can then ask them a question about themselves or go on to some other topic of conversation to communicate your goal wasn't just to pump them for a job lead.
- Build relationships with your professional contacts. Touching base with your contacts-former co-workers, customers, clients, vendors and other business associates-to wish them a Merry Christmas (or whichever holiday greeting is appropriate for them) and let them know that you are still available. For some of them, you might want to also invite them to meet for coffee or lunch. Remember that the purpose of these contacts is to build relationships, not to ask for a job or share your job-hunting woes.
- Reconnect with prospective employers. Send Christmas or holiday cards with your personal business card enclosed to managers with whom you've recently interviewed. Write a personal note of greeting; mention something you enjoyed about meeting the person.
- Volunteer to provide help and make connections. Many organizations need volunteers during the holidays. If you are interested in working for a particular church or nonprofit organization, volunteering is a great way to get an "inside look" at the organization and to meet people who work there. You can also look for volunteer positions which will give you the opportunity to meet many business people in your community or industry. Other benefits of volunteering are that it gets you out of the house and connects you with other people; helps lift your spirits if you're feeling down about your job situation; and gives you the satisfaction and joy that comes from helping others.
So don't take a vacation from your job hunt during the holidays! Schedule at least one job search activity each day. Employers value people who are proactive, stay focused and optimistic, and help others as well as asking for assistance along the way. Remember also that you are not alone-in this Christmas season, embrace anew that God loves you and that with Him, "nothing is impossible" (Luke 1:37).
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