The holidays can be one of the worst times to find yourself out of a job.
Not only do you face pressure to attend family functions and buy presents, but it can also be very difficult to get an interview during the short work weeks, and all the vacation time that tends to pop up for recruiters and HR staff during winter. Still, it’s important that you don’t give up your job search over the holidays simply because people are hard to reach. In fact, this time can be an excellent point to begin a job search, for several reasons:
First, you have the greatest opportunity for networking during the holiday season. If you’re attending a lot of parties and functions, you’re guaranteed to run into acquaintances that may or may not know you’re looking for employment. Go to dinner parties and family gatherings as often as you can. Be ready to pass out your business card or resume at a moment’s notice. You’d be surprised how often a conversation over a punch bowl can serve as a preliminary interview. You’ll be exposed to plenty of people in a variety of fields. It’s an excellent way to build some connections.
Another often overlooked benefit of job hunting during the holidays is that most people don’t do it. Because so many quit just before the holiday season, or put off hunting for a job until after the new year, you have a great opportunity to get yourself out there before the glut of new applicants drifts in. Work with HR employees and recruiters now, while everyone else is still polishing their resumes to show on January 3rd. You’ll be forefront in everybody’s mind, even if you don’t get the interview until later.
December is also a great time for you to work on putting together a great presentation online. Because so many hiring executives will be traveling or spending vacation time at their homes, email and the Internet may be the best way to get in touch with them. Make sure you have a great presence on all the social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. You can also put together a slide show resume on SlideShare. You never know – an employer may get your cover letter while he’s eating Christmas dinner, but just because he’s not in the office doesn’t mean he won’t read it.
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged, no matter how long the job search takes. If you convince yourself that you’re never going to land an interview, or get your foot in the door of a new career, you probably won’t. Perseverance will serve you much better than luck. If you give up on the job hunt until it’s business as usual in the places you want to work, chances are that they’ll have already filled the position you want to occupy.
Treat the holiday season like any other job hunting time, and give it everything you’ve got.