Contrary to widely held opinion, the holidays are actually an excellent time to advance your job search. Why?
- Social activities ramp up, expanding your opportunities to network.
- Some hiring managers want to fill jobs before the end of the fiscal year in December.
- Many job seekers assume nothing is happening and slow down their activity … that’s less competition for you!
- People seem to be in better moods – more generous, more open to networking contact.
So, rather than slow down, now’s the time to energize your search and take advantage of the gifts of the season, using these 4 strategies:
- Use seasonal activity to stimulate network contacts.
The holiday season often brings us in contact with people we don’t see very much during the year – former work colleagues, neighbors, far-flung relatives, old friends – who can be very influential members of your network. Once you’ve reconnected over a holiday get-together, the segue to asking for their help is natural.
BRIEFLY tell your contacts what you’re up to and what you’re looking for … then step back. “I don’t want to monopolize your time! How about if I give you a call in a few days to see what suggestions you might be able to give me.” When you do call, you’ve “primed the pump,” so to speak, and you won’t feel awkward reintroducing yourself to people you haven’t been close with recently.
- TIP: If you attend a work party for your spouse, spend as much time as possible talking with other spouses (not just co-workers) because they will bring outside perspectives from many different workplaces.
- TIP: If you come across people who have found a new job in the last year or so, remember that they are VERY inclined to be helpful to other job seekers!
- Take advantage of corporate “down time” to meet with less-stressed executives.
The last two weeks of December, lots of people take time off. Those who don’t often find themselves in a low-key work environment – most projects are completed, and there is a lull before things start fresh in the new year. This is the time to reconnect with people in your network and ask for an in-person meeting.
- TIP: Bring in some holiday cookies, candy, nuts, or fruit to share—nothing elaborate or expensive, but a good way to make yourself part of the work environment.
- TIP: Remember to ask for “advice, suggestions, and ideas,” NOT jobs or even job leads. Be clear about your talents, strengths, and interests. Be appreciative, follow up on all ideas, and periodically
- provide a status report to your contacts. Keep them in the loop so they remain an active part of your network.
- Position yourself now to move strongly out of the gate come January.
To be sure you’re ready to take off next month, do the following now:
- Update or polish your resume.
- Create template cover letters that you can quickly tailor for individual opportunities.
- Develop a target company list.
- Do salary research.
- Brush up your interviewing and negotiating skills.
And finally …
- Be sure to enjoy the holiday season, regardless of your job status.
Try not to let the uncertainty, stress, or frustration of a job search interfere with family activities, traditional holiday celebrations, or the true joy of the season. If you do, you’ll certainly regret it when you look back, a few months from now, from the security of your new position.