If your list of New Year’s resolutions begins with, “Start an awesome new job,” then now is the time to step up your job search.
Though many people believe that companies don’t hire between Thanksgiving and New Year, nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, there are a number of industries such as hospitality, retail, travel, and financial services that experience a rise in demand during November, December, and January. And second, as Kathy Gans points out in her Entrepreneur article titled “4 Reasons You Should Keep Up Your Job Search During the Holidays,” a lot of companies have already determined their hiring needs for the upcoming year. Especially with many organizations undergoing digital transformation and looking to get ahead of the competition, they need to fill positions in order to be productive as soon as the holidays are over.
Fortunately, the majority of job seekers take a respite from their job hunt during the holidays. That means you’ll have less competition—and that’s an excellent opportunity to get the attention of decision makers. Keep the following six tips in mind:
1. Get your materials in order. Are your résumé and LinkedIn profile up to date? Do you have good endorsements? Does your cover letter need polishing? Do you have solid references? Remember: this information is your first opportunity to make a good impression on a potential employer, so take some time to make your materials as compelling as possible. If you need a refresher on how to do this, check out the Kelly® report “Career Forward: Impress with Your Résumé.”
2. Clean up your online and social media presence. If you have a personal website, bring it up to date with your latest information. You should also take some time to review your social media pages. Scrub any content you don’t want a potential employer to see—or, if that’s too much work, make your profiles private.
3. Be direct. Instead of sending out applications and waiting for responses, take a more direct approach. Call potential employers and strike up a conversation. In his PBS NewsHour article titled “Ask the Headhunter: 8 reasons you shouldn’t lay off your job search for the holidays,” Nick Corcodilos advises taking advantage of the fact that many offices are less busy by establishing a relationship with the receptionist to learn more about the company. Find out who does what, what the culture’s like, and what the position you’re interested in demands. Then when it’s time to have a conversation with the hiring manager, you’ll be better informed about the company.
4. Be super social. The holidays are typically a time for parties and events. Whether it’s a formal dinner organized by a professional association, a cocktail party at your best friend’s home, or a holiday event at the local golf club, take advantage of social events to meet people face-to-face. This kind of personal connection can quickly result in an introduction or reference that could help you land your next job.
5. Be balanced. While it’s okay to talk shop to a certain extent, be sensitive to cues that indicate people want to change the subject. Just make sure to hand out your (digital) business card, and then let others lead the conversation. It’s better to make a pleasant, polite impression than to be remembered as someone who’s forceful and tries to control conversations.
6. Be patient. The holiday season can be a chaotic time for companies. Between wrapping up projects, organizing office parties, and people leaving for vacation, hiring managers might not get back to you as quickly as they normally would. Be patient, and if you haven’t heard back by the second week of January, follow up.
Finally, whatever you do, don’t let your job search spoil your holiday season. Even if you’re waiting to hear from an employer or worse, get a rejection, try to compartmentalize and spend quality time with your loved ones. That way, you’ll be reenergized and ready to hit the ground running when you do land that job you worked so hard to get.
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