How to Beef Up Your Job Search During the Holidays
If you’re searching for a job, don’t assume that the holidays are a bad time to look for one. In fact, your chances of getting hired at this time of year may be even greater than at other times. There are several reasons.
For starters, competition is lessened because many job seekers assume employers aren’t hiring during the holidays and put their search on hold, says Jane Trnka, executive director of the Career Development Center at Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. And the number of job openings can actually increase because many companies need to hire before the end of the year to start the new year fully staffed or to take advantage of money in the current year’s budget for new hires.
So don’t take the holidays off if you’re looking for a job. Instead, follow these tips to beef up your search and improve your chances of finding employment.
Network, network, network. The holidays offer plenty of opportunities for networking because of all the parties and events that happen at this time of year. So make an effort to introduce yourself to other parents, for example, if you’re at your child’s holiday concert. The conversation doesn’t have to relate to your job search. In fact, Trnka says, you want to use this opportunity to develop a rapport with others -- not necessarily to broadcast to all you meet that you’re looking for work. Make plans to get together again with the people you meet, then use that opportunity to let them know you’re looking for work and to discuss your experience and strengths. Even if they don’t work at a company that is hiring, they might know others who can help you in your search.
Contact companies even if they don’t have openings. Even if don’t see a job listing at a company where you want to work, don’t hesitate to reach out, Trnka says. Sometimes a job won’t be listed yet, but touching base with a company executive or hiring manager could lead to a job down the road. Send a holiday card (not holiday-specific, though, or a card that pictures you and your family) to employers of interest with whom you’ve already had some contact with to let them know that you look forward to keeping in touch with them in the new year. If you do meet with employers, send hand-written letters thanking them for their time. A letter will stand out more than an e-mail, Trnka says, and will set you apart from other job candidates.
Engage family and friends. Let the people closest to you know that you’re looking for work and suggest that the Christmas gifts that they give you this year be related to your job search. For example, you might want to ask for a gift card to your favorite coffee shop because it’s a good place for you to meet people and network. Or maybe you’d like cash to pay for a new suit or a résumé service.