Many job-seekers mistakenly believe there is nothing to be gained by pounding the pavement between Thanksgiving and New Year’s – unless you’re looking for a seasonal job as a shopping mall Santa, that is. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth as the holidays actually represent one of the best job-seeking seasons of the year. Job-seekers who drop out of the race during the holidays are doing themselves a huge disservice.
Many organizations actively engage in December interviews for jobs that won’t start until after the ball drops inTimes Square. With fall trade shows behind them, decision-makers are more easily accessible. For many of them, December is the time to prepare for the coming year. Key personnel and payroll decisions must be made before year’s end, and hiring managers are keen to get a jumpstart on meeting the goals they have set for the new year.
Recruiters and hiring managers frequently complain that it’s next to impossible to reach candidates during this pivotal time period. Distracted by holiday shopping, parties, and the uncontrollable desire to deck the halls, otherwise desirable candidates are simply not responsive. If you can avoid falling into that trap, you will have less competition and a greater chance of enjoying your holidays, knowing a new job awaits you.
Here are a few simple tips for ensuring that your holiday job search is as merry as can be:
* Send holiday cards to well-connected friends, as well as to hiring managers who have recently interviewed you. Include your business card. Make sure the card is not geared toward any one particular religion. If the recipient happens to be Jewish or African-American, don’t try to be culturally sensitive by sending a Hanukkah orKwanzacard. A simple “Happy Holidays” greeting will do.
* Use holiday get-togethers for networking. Attend as many events as you can and keep in mind that anyone – friend, relative, or stranger – could inadvertently lead you to your next job. Play it cool and have a good time, but be prepared to tell everyone you meet about your job search.
* Use the end-year time period to make informational interview requests. Many businesses naturally slow down during the holiday period, so it’s a good time to connect and learn more about potential future employers. They may not be in a position to offer you a job at the moment, but your interest and initiative will probably put you near the top of the list for any future openings.
* If you can’t land your dream job, consider part-time seasonal work. Retailers and shipping companies are especially desperate for holiday help, so open yourself up to work you might not otherwise do. Don the Santa hat, wrap presents for harried shoppers, or give your muscles a work-out unloading a truck full of last minute gifts. The extra money will come in handy and prospective employers will see you have the gumption to tackle new challenges. You may even meet someone who holds the key to your new job.