Dear Santa, Please Bring Me A Job for Christmas
If you are currently unemployed, the holidays can be particularly rough. But take heart, contrary to popular belief this is one of the best times of the year to be looking for employment. Many companies implement a new direction or strategy at the first of the year, resulting in a "First of the Year" hiring surge. With New Year business strategies mapped out, companies start aggressively looking for resumes and interviewing new job candidates during the holiday season. Following are some tips to help you get a job for Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate):
- Face the facts: looking for work is stressful, and the holidays are stressful. Recognize the symptoms of stress (crying more, sleeping more, eating more, smoking more, coming unglued quicker and more frequently). Create systems and supports to keep stress in balance. Remember, people who are stressed are not attractive employment candidates.
- Capitalize on the knowledge that most job seekers think the holidays are a bad time to look for work. Take advantage of this time when the competition is not as strong. Demonstrate to prospective employers your motivation and ability to stay on task.
- Stay committed to your first priority... getting a new job. Stick to a routine. Remember your "9:00 to 5:00 Persona." Think – look– act like an employed professional. Don't let job search take a back seat to the holidays. Being unemployed does not mean you have unlimited time to devote to the holidays.
- Re-assess and re-energize your job search strategy. "Plan Your Work and Work your Plan." Make manageable daily job search "to-do" lists and schedule time for them on your calendar. Do things that are less stressful, but contribute to your overall search. Spruce up your employment portfolio and resume. Research target companies. Practice interviewing with a coach. Build your online identity. Volunteer at a nonprofit (it keeps you connected, gives you new information to add to your resume, and most importantly – “giving” is really what the holidays are all about!)
- Remain positive... redefine your holiday traditions. Give yourself permission to let go of costly holiday traditions and create new ones that require less time and money. Remember, everyone is stressed; try to give relief as well as seek it. Develop a "helping image". Visualize success. If you have negative thoughts, you will get negative results.
- Network while you socialize. Learn about other people's jobs and companies. Become known as a talented and likeable person before their company has openings. You will be remembered and have a foot in the door already. Remember, employers hire people they like. Exuberate with “likeability!”
- Consider taking a temporary holiday job. Employed people are more employable. Stay in the game. Get noticed. Once you are connected, your confidence will rise, and confident people are more likeable (see # 6). And the extra cash from a temporary job can't hurt.
- Exercise. It relieves stress and keeps the endorphins flowing. Take the stairs. Park furthest from the door. Get out of your head (where stress lies) and into your hands (hobbies, activities) and feet! And while you are taking good care or yourself, limit caffeine, sugar and alcohol. They will let you down as fast as they take you up.
- Laugh. Research has found that a kindergartner laughs 300 times a day - and an adult only 17. How about you - how many times did you laugh today? Look for the humor in your situation; don't take life so seriously. Surround yourself with people and things that make you laugh.
- Nurture the child inside you. Do things that make you feel good. Acknowledge any negative feelings and thoughts you may have and then let them go. Rediscover the joy of the season. When was the last time you made snow angels or had your picture taken on Santa's lap?