Don’t Put YOUR Job Search on Hold During the Holidays! Top 5 Reasons Why Doing So is a BAD Idea!
The thought of taking a break from your job search sounds appealing especially since it is becoming more difficult to set aside dedicated time for the task. The holiday season is in full swing and I know, it is becoming more challenging for you to juggle tasks both at home and at work. At this point, all you can think about is some down time. Yes, down time sounds good about now, and absolutely, if you are feeling burnt out and need to take some time to rejuvenate then by all means take a break. Truth be told, there will be jobs to apply for in January too. However, if you still have some energy then I recommend you hold off on that down time just a little bit longer. Perhaps modify your search efforts a tad so you do not miss out on spending precious time with family and friends during the holiday season, but do not stop the job hunt completely. Below are five reasons why taking a break from your job search quest is a bad idea:
- Seeking: Contrary to belief, employers DO still look for great candidates to hire in the month of December, so you should continue to apply too! NOTE: many companies, especially large ones, have applicant tracking systems in place making it easier for them to continue to collect resumes, even when there is no one in the office to review them. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because you took a break at the wrong time. Also, in case you did not know, many hiring managers use the month of December to finalize their plans for the new year. Hiring strategies tend to be aggressive and hiring managers know to meet their annual marks they need to hire in December if they want to have people in place in January.
- Timing: Okay, you saved up leave all year long so that you could take time off in December to spend time with family and friends. Congratulations! Since you have some extra time and you can’t spend every waking moment with your loved ones, you can squeeze in at least an hour or two to apply for jobs while you are on leave. This works out perfect, good job friend! Here is something else to consider, most people stop job hunting in December which means less competition for you. Is the job hunting in December starting to sound more appealing yet?
- Networking: There is no better time for networking then during the holiday season. There are plenty of gatherings to attend, so no excuses. In fact, I am sure your community calendar of events is full of opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, so do a quick Internet search on “events nearby” your location to find a long list of offerings and then pick the ones that are the most appealing to you. Be sure to take plenty of business cards. If you do not have business cards, get some. You can get good quality, inexpensive cards fast from many online sites. Again, do a quick Internet search and you will find what you seek. If you are not currently working, use the cards to tell people you are a “freelancer” who is ready to take on project work. NOTE: one of the quickest way to demonstrate your abilities and get yourself hired is by doing small project work.
- Hiring: As you know, hiring is based on budgets. Most companies use December 31 as their financial year-end which means there may be some money left over due to unfilled jobs giving hiring mangers incentive to get the positions filled before December 31, 2017 or risk losing the position in the new year and having to fight for it all over again. The best news, if you are hired in December you won’t start until some point in the New Year, so you may have bought yourself a couple of additional weeks before the new start date. Score!
- Negotiating: I think this one is my favorite item on the list. Here’s why: salaries are already in place for the New Year meaning hiring managers have some wiggle room when hiring individuals to start in January. To make this even sweeter, people tend to feel more generous during the holiday season which means you may be able to negotiate a better deal than if you wait until after the new year when the excitement from the holiday has slowed down and resolutions kick in. Yes, more money sounds good to me, how about you?
Alright, I hope I have convinced you that searching for a job in December is worth the effort and that not doing so is a bad idea. If you are convinced, please keep reading to learn how you can stand out to those hiring managers. If not, enjoy the holiday my friend, see you in January!
- Resume: Make sure your resume is up to date and ready to go. If you do not have a resume or your resume needs some tweaking do it now. For time sake, you may want to hire a professional resume writer to get the job done quickly. You can continue your job search while you wait so that you are ready to go as soon as your resume is finalized. NOTE: You do NOT have to have a resume writer; however, a professional resume writer knows that to get through the applicant tracking systems I mentioned previously you MUST use keywords from the job advertisements. A resume writer will know the right balance for the inclusion of such keywords. TIP: if you are told to email your resume to an individual, a PDF version of the resume is a good idea because it ensures the formatting of the resume does not change; HOWEVER, it is important to note that many application tracking systems work better when you upload a Word version so be sure to check before you submit your resume. You do NOT want your resume to get discarded because you did not follow the guidance provided during the application process.
- LinkedIn Profile: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is also up-to-date. Recruiters will continue to search through profiles as usual, so you want to make sure you have a polished profile that showcases your experience and abilities in the best light possible. NOTE: Do not set your profile up as a mirror image of your resume. You want your profile to demonstrate who you are as an individual highlighting your key accomplishments in a conversational manner. Reason: any jobs you apply for using LinkedIn via the Easy Apply process is going to give you the option to upload your resume so take advantage of the process to let your light shine using both tools.
- Elevator Pitch: I talked about having business cards under the networking section above, but what I did not mention was the importance of having an elevator pitch ready to go so when you do connect with others you can confidently share your job seeker status without feeling awkward. An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech used to spark interest in who are and what you do. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than 30 seconds, the time of a short elevator ride, hence the name. It is very important to have a pitch ready to go because more than 80% of jobs are not found through online job postings or traditional advertisements, they are found through conversations with others. Yes, the “old adage” about getting a job because of who you know still holds true today, so be prepared to give your pitch while passing out those newly minted business cards. Who knows, you might just leave the event with a scheduled interview or even better a new job to start in the new year!
Wishing you a joy filled holiday surrounded by family and friends!
Good luck in your job search efforts!
As always, I am cheering for you!
Dr. Jeannine Bennett is the founder and CEO for Vision to Purpose, an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed through the offering of tailored career, life and business solutions.
Need a resume writer? How about a career coach? Perhaps a business consultant? Look no further, Dr. Bennett and the Vision to Purpose team can help! You can learn more about Dr. Bennett and Vision to Purpose by visiting www.visiontopurpose.com.