Planning to hold off on your job search during the holiday season, believing that no one hires at this time of year? You could be missing lucrative opportunities to snag a great new role.
Most professionals assume that the holidays are a time of parties, year-end vacations, and relaxation—and they're right. The holiday season, however, is also a time in which candidates can easily locate new contacts and even find themselves approached by employers for a prime position.
Here are five key reasons to put aside the common myths surrounding a holiday job search:
1. Employers Hire All Year Long—And The Holidays Are No Exception
Many job seekers set their resumes and interview suits aside until well into the New Year. This is a big mistake! Business needs rarely change during the holiday season—and may, in some cases, even intensify during this time of year.
Companies that plan to roll out new customer-facing changes or product initiatives in January are still busy. Retailers, who anticipate a slowdown after the holidays, will also be planning their next-year calendar with the help of leaders in marketing, purchasing, and market analysis.
Some industries also experience a year-end rush of forecasting, product strategy, and sales activity. Even businesses that seem to go dormant during the holidays often hire new teams or set up operations for their busy periods. Look carefully at your target employers and consider their seasonal needs so that you can capitalize on these trends.
2. You'll Enjoy The Advantage Of Less Competition
While you're eyeing up prospective employers and actively collaborating with recruiters, other job seekers may have decided to lie low during the holiday season. Because of the diminished volume of competition (including the fact that some candidates are unreachable during the holidays), you could quickly be next in line for a call from an employer with an immediate need.
You may also find, when applying to an online job posting, that fewer candidates are reaching out to employers during this time. Be sure to use this to your advantage, stating in your cover letter that you're "eager to hear about their needs" and open to scheduling a follow-up call before the New Year.
3. It's A Great Time To Rekindle Former Contacts
Failed to stay in touch with former colleagues or bosses? The holidays are a great time to reach out and drop a note to your circle, asking them if they'd like to stay in touch and perhaps get together for coffee in the New Year.
Most people enjoy hearing from a past co-worker or supervisor, especially if it means they have the opportunity to catch up on personal or work details. Even though it's best to avoid asking for a favor (especially if you've dropped out of sight for a few years), you can still show an interest in their lives and cultivate a strong relationship that can last long after the holiday season.
4. Holiday Events Provide More Opportunity To Build Your Network
It's no secret that employer holiday parties, open houses, community events, and other venues are great places to network. If you're on the lookout for a new job, you can quickly use these events to learn the names and job titles of important new contacts, plus take the opportunity to introduce yourself.
The ideal situation, of course, is that you'd be in the right place to hear about a new opportunity directly from a hiring manager. Even if this doesn't happen, your presence at holiday venues will allow you to briefly "talk shop," exchange business cards, and show a sincere interest in the company's needs—ensuring that your name is remembered during a subsequent hiring process.
5. Downtime From Work Can Provide More Time To Formulate Your Brand Message
If you haven't spent significant time and effort building your personal brand, holiday vacation time can give you a breather to work on your resume and LinkedIn Profile.
No matter if you're writing job hunting documents (resume, cover letter, biography, and reference dossier) or online identity components (social media profiles, blogs, or online articles), you'll benefit from taking a closer look at your top achievements and gathering information about your career contributions. Start building a strong brand message by answering these questions:
- What important projects were you involved in at work? Can you obtain news releases or other media features on the impact of these initiatives?
- How many times have you been promoted or earned an award for your work? What accolades or kudos did you receive in the process?
- How has your work affected the bottom line? What metrics can you use that point to cost savings, revenue increases, productivity improvements, or other benefits to your employers?
- What type of work are you consistently sought for—that distinguishes you among other team members or executives?
- What do others say when asked about the quality or impact of your work?
By gathering answers to these questions, you'll have a wealth of information from which to draw for your personal brand—ensuring that your reputation, professional achievements, and strengths take center stage during your job search.
In short, don't neglect the job market just because of the dates on your calendar! You can find numerous ways to leverage the spirit of the season and learn more about your ideal employers—while enjoying the benefits of a holiday job search.
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