The holiday season is typically a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that has passed, and think ahead to the new year— but for many folks it’s also a time to job hunt. The truth is, many companies don’t take the holidays off when seeking to fill open positions, and it could mean plenty of opportunities for you.
A recent article in Forbes answered the question “Are the holidays a good time to job search?” with a resounding yes: “Many professionals (and job seekers) are preoccupied with all they have to do during the holidays—family gatherings, travel, winter break from school, big dinners, and shopping. Seemingly for many, job searching takes a back seat during this time. However, these types of distractions are actually even beneficial, because there is less competition for job seekers. The holidays aren’t always a slow period. On the contrary, there’s a significant rise in jobs and job opportunities.”
The article goes on to speculate why the holidays might just be the ideal time to lock down your next big job opportunity: “There are key industries that have expansive hiring during the holiday season, particularly retail, operations, and even financial services. Companies are heavily entrenched in finalizing their business and budget goals for the New Year, which often include increasing the job force, closing out final deals, and negotiating acquisitions of new projects to jump start the fiscal year. Here’s another insider secret: there’s an influx of professionals who give notice during the holidays in order to take those well-planned and sought after dream vacations, and companies want to be fully staffed on January 1.”
So, if you’re on the lookout for your next big career move and want to make the most of your holiday job hunt, let’s take a look at some strategies you can utilize to take full advantage of the opportunities that are out there!
Prepare in advance.
Keep in mind that the holiday window isn’t endless—it typically starts around Thanksgiving and ends around New Year’s Day, which means that you have approximately 6 weeks to take full advantage of the holiday job hunt. That said, you don’t want to eat up a great deal of time with things you can prepare in advance. Make sure you have a list of target positions and industries and that your basic resume and cover letter (documents you should of course tweak as needed for various openings) are current and in good shape before the holidays begin, so you can use these 6 weeks to maximize your job hunt—it’ll help put you a step ahead of the competition!
Take advantage of seasonal employment opportunities.
Many companies and industries get especially busy during the holidays and routinely hire additional seasonal staff to help them meet with higher than normal work volume. A few examples include the retail, travel and tourism, food and hospitality, and package delivery industries, among others. Although these are typically jobs with finite and predetermined lifespans, they do represent good ways to make some additional money during the holidays. And who knows—if you do a particularly good job you may impress someone enough to extend your position indefinitely. If seasonal employment is something that interests you, make sure to filter for this type of employment in your job searches.
Patience is always a virtue when it comes to job hunting, but it’s especially true during the holidays. Although your job hunt might be taking place during the holiday season, don’t be surprised if it lasts until well after they’re over. The truth is, although the holidays can be a great time to discover and apply to new job openings while facing less competition because lots of other job seekers are busy and preoccupied with holiday plans, so are the people who posted the ads. It’s not uncommon for productivity at all levels in the workplace to slow down to a crawl during the holidays, and this includes HR departments. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you wind up sending out a ton of resumes but don’t receive a ton of responses quickly.
Have a thick skin.
Resilience is a key trait if you’re determined to job hunt during the holiday season and don’t want the process to eat away at your holiday spirit. We’re all aware of the mental toll that a job hunt often takes. Very few of us get to experience the luxury of a quick hire after a brief job hunt. It’s much more likely that you’ll take a few trips on the emotional rollercoaster of hope and rejection as you apply for jobs and await replies. But this doesn’t mean that your job hunt has to cast a shadow over your holiday celebration plans. Remember, job hunts take time and rejection is a natural part of the process that we all experience—it’s certainly in your best interest to keep this in mind and develop a thick skin while looking for a new job, unless you want your job hunt to be the Grinch that spoils your holiday plans.
Flexibility is especially important during the holidays. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, meeting at unexpected hours for a call or face-to-face interview on the fly or being willing to endure a little holiday office chaos at the places you’re interviewing might just be a part of your search during the busy holiday season. If you take it in stride and show potential employers that you’re not rattled by unexpected curveballs, it’ll only work to your advantage during the process.
There you have it—consider this your holiday job hunting strategy guide for making the most of the opportunities available during this busy time of the year. Take advantage of the advice presented here and you can hopefully ring in the New Year with a new job. Good luck!
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