Is the Holiday Season a Good Time to Job Search?
Is the Holiday Season a Good Time to Job Search?
Hiring does not come to a halt as the holiday season approaches.
Office parties, professional get-togethers, and year-end meetings abound during the Holiday Season. While it may be tempting to put your search on hold, that could put you at a disadvantage.
When organizations have a need, they hire regardless of the time of year. As companies complete their financial planning for 2019, they're under pressure to fill certain openings or risk losing budgets. Hiring managers with new goals are eager to find productive workers. The low unemployment rate means competition for candidates is keen.
Because many hiring managers don't travel much during the holidays, they may have time to meet with job seekers. Several organizations interview in December for positions starting in the New Year.  
The fact that many potential candidates don't job hunt during the holidays is another advantage. Those who plan to leave, wait until the New Year so they can receive year-end bonuses. Others take vacations.
Some successful candidates begin new jobs between Christmas and New Year. Starting work during the holidays can be a bonus. The work pace is usually slower, and new employees have time to settle in. Seasoned employees have time to answer questions.
The interview process may take longer than normal as interviewers take a few days off. That can work to your advantage. You'll have time to prepare, and have a foot in the door in the New Year.
Holiday Job Search Tips
Be prepared. Identify your job target. Know your preferred job title and industry, your special skills and accomplishments, what you can offer the company (value added), and desired locale. Show potential employers why they should hire you. Match your qualifications to employer's needs. Know key industry words to describe your skills. 
Investigate jobs and prospective employers. Be resourceful. Check the classifieds, online job boards, local newspapers, business and trade publications, and company and professional association websites. Target company decision makers. Call hiring managers of desired organizations. Consider small and medium-sized companies. Use Google and other search engines to research organizations and individuals.  
Update resumes creating a separate one for each job target. Also create a business card that highlights specific areas of expertise and directs recipients to your resume in an accessible format, such as the URL for a resume web page
Use social media. Build an on-line professional profile on Likedin, Twitter and other plarforms to expand your network.. Most employers will do a Google search on potential candidates. Ensure information about your professional accomplishments and background is updated. Keep personal life private on Facebook and ensure privacy settings are secure.
Consider industry-related Twitter chats to communicate with the right people. Share information by re-tweeting, forwarding links and articles. Contemplate sharing work on high traffic sites such as You Tube.
Review your elevator speech. This mini speech should introduce yourself, describe your experience, accomplishments and skills, and demonstrate your value added. Speeches can be given over the phone, in person, at professional conferences and sports events, or when you make cold phone calls. Indicate accomplishments and what you can offer the company. Keep communication positive.
Research your audience.  State what you like about the organization. Indicate what you can offer, problems you can solve. Deliver your speech conversationally. Be friendly, genuine.   
Network during holiday events. Attend as many functions as you can fit into your calendar. Attend events sponsored by professional associations and chambers of commerce. Ask for invitations to friends' company functions. Attend to catch up with old friends and meeting new ones. Learning about a great position before it's advertised is a bonus.
Present a professional image. Dress conservatively. Avoid revealing clothing and stay sober. Discuss business in general terms. Talk about industry trends, and what you've contributed to your profession. Briefly update others about your situation. Emphasize positive aspects about your search, such as the intriguing people you've met.
Be sociable, informal. Don't aggressively ask for employment information. When the topic of work comes up, casually mention your job search. Discreetly exchange business cards with professional contacts. Follow-up with phone calls in the New Year. 
Send holiday greeting cards. These get the attention of people with whom you have discussed work. Send cards to well-connected friends, as well. To be sensitive to various cultures, use generic cards with messages like "Season's Greetings."  A simple message like "Looking forward to seeing you in the New Year" is appropriate. Personalize cards with a pre-printed signature. Write a short note and sign your name. Mail cards early in the season or send via the internet.. 
Volunteer. You'll meet new people, learn about job opportunities, and gain experience. Contributing to the community provides a sense of satisfaction and confidence. 

Take a survival job. Temporary work can stretch your finances and may lead to a permanent position. Employment agencies report an increase in employer requests as companies try to complete annual goals with regular employees wanting vacation time.
Maintain a flexible schedule. Allocate time for job search and relaxation or holiday celebrations. Be available, adaptable. A prospective employer may unexpectedly call. If you're accessible, you have an advantage.
Follow-up. Contact hiring managers within two weeks of sending correspondence. A brief phone call reasserting your interest and strong qualifications for the position is effective.
Persist. You may get your Christmas wish.
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life provides additional job search tips.

Author, Dr. Carole Kanchier, psychologist and coach, encourages people to reassess their views of career success, and strengthen Quester traits such as purpose, intuition, and courage to prevail. Carole Kanchier has worked with clients representing varied industries, and has taught at the University of Alberta, University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, and other institutions of higher learning. She chaired the Career Change Committee, National Career Development Association, and was Advisory Board member, College Admission Counseling Program, University of California, Berkeley.

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