Yes, the holidays can be hectic, but that doesn’t mean your job search has to grind to a halt. This time of year can be ideal for getting what you really want this Christmas—a new job.
Don’t let the holidays be an excuse to slack off. Use them to your advantage. There are approximately 33-million job openings in the United States this month.
With many companies actively hiring and less competition from other candidates, now is your time to shine.
Follow these tips to help you make the most of your job search over the holidays. You just might find yourself with a new job by the New Year.
Do Companies Hire in December?
Despite what you might think, companies are always hiring. It takes an average of three weeks to hire someone new, so they can’t afford to stop during the holidays. Between vacations, reduced holiday hours, and end-of-year budgets, other things may slow down, but hiring can’t.
However, since 2018, January has been the best time to get hired—meaning you need to apply for these roles in December. You may not hear back immediately, but you’ll be ahead of the competition when hiring starts again.
If there aren’t many job postings to apply to, use this time to focus on the other aspects of your job search.
Figure Out What You Want
A slower job market means you can take the time to figure out what job you want versus just applying to whatever is posted that sounds okay.
Think about the kind of work you enjoy, the lifestyle you want, and what company culture you thrive in.
Do you like working with people or with your hands? Do you want a job that allows you to travel? Or one with a flexible schedule? Does the company need to be socially responsible?
Do your research, talk to people in your field, and figure out what you want to do next. Once you know what you want, you can start targeting your job search for those specific positions.
Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
As with any job search, you must make sure your resume and cover letter are up to date.
Since the year is ending, think back to what you’ve accomplished this year. What new skills did you learn? What big projects did you complete? Add these to your resume or cover letter.
While you’re at it, update your social media profiles too. Many employers will look at them as part of their background checks, so make sure there is nothing questionable there for them to find.
Network at Holiday Events
People get together as much as possible during the holidays. Attending these events is your chance to let your professional connections know that you’re looking for a new job. It’s also an excellent opportunity to meet new people and expand your network.
Check out community calendars, professional associations’ websites, and social media pages to find these events and put yourself out there. You never know who you’ll meet.
Use the Holidays to Reconnect
Let’s be honest—cold calling and requesting to meet for coffee to reconnect with colleagues and acquaintances can feel very awkward. The holidays provide the perfect excuse to reach out and catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while.
Sending greeting cards or invitations to holiday parties is a great way to start the conversation without feeling like you’re imposing.
Whichever way you reach out, be sure to let them know that you’re looking for work. You are four times more likely to get a job offer through an employee referral than applying online. Being strategic in building relationships will significantly increase your chance of getting an interview and, ultimately, a job offer.
Learn Something New
The pandemic taught us our jobs could quickly change. Learning new skills or advancing the ones you already have will make you more adaptable and successful in the long run. It shows employers that you’re dedicated and invested in your career.
You can find books, online courses, and tutorials on just about every topic these days. But you can also learn a lot by simply experimenting with different programs and software.
Employers want to see relevant skills on your resume. Your application won’t make it past scanning software without these keywords. So if you lack an in-demand skill, now is the time to learn it. Then list it prominently on your resume.
Consider a Seasonal Job
Accepting a seasonal job may be a shortcut to finding something more permanent. Employers are often more willing to hire someone with some experience, even if it is only temporary. Plus, you get to “try out” the role and company to see if it’s a good fit.
If it is, make a good impression. Let your manager know that you want to continue working with them and talk to HR about what opportunities are available.
It’s the season of giving. Use this time to boost your resume by volunteering. You will make a difference in your community while gaining valuable skills and will meet others who care about the same things you do.
When choosing where to volunteer, be strategic to get the most out of your experience. Think about what skills you want to gain or strengthen. What organizations interest you? What causes matter?
Volunteering allows you to learn about different industries and career paths without making big commitments like switching careers.
Employers also love seeing volunteer work on resumes. It shows that you are a well-rounded individual who is interested in more than just your career. You are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and put in the work.
Take Care of Yourself
The holidays are a time for family, friends, and relaxation. Job searching at this time of year just may not be plausible or healthy.
If you’re feeling stressed about your job search, take a break. It’s not worth it to put yourself through the added stress. You can always resume your job search after the holidays, refreshed and ready to go.
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Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.