It’s a common misconception that no one outside of retail hires during the holiday season. Certainly many job-hunters seeking office work or executive-level positions feel justified in taking a two-month hiatus from their job search when the holidays arrive. The “conventional wisdom” that companies won’t start hiring — or even looking for candidates — until the new year begins is incorrect.
Here are four reasons why:
- You’ll have less competition. Many job-hunters buy “conventional wisdom,” and drop out of the race for the duration of the holidays. That means less competition for job-seekers who do stay in the game. You may never have the field to yourself, but in November and December it will be much less crowded!
- Managers don’t wait until January to get the hiring process moving. They are planning ahead in December. They have budgets approved, and headcounts, and can’t afford to wait to get things rolling. If they want new people on board in January, managers know they have to be looking at candidates in November and December.
- It’s business as usual during the holidays. The stock market doesn’t close, banks are still doing business, sales people are making calls and closing deals — no one else is taking a two-month break, so what makes you think you can? Of course there are distractions like office parties and official holidays, but if hiring and interviewing needd to be done, they will get done.
- You can’t afford to lose momentum. If you have a great job search going on in October, it makes no sense to “go on vacation” in November. Don’t let the momentum stall! Loss of momentum can sabotage your job search at any time of the year.
Tips for improving your job search during the holidays
Based on decades of supporting job-searchers through active holiday seasons, GetFive suggests these strategies to help you stay on track during the final months of the year:
- Reconnect with everyone. The holidays are all about reconnecting with people, and expressing your personal and professional gratitude for the time they gave you throughout the year. This contact can be as simple as a thank-you email to everyone you’ve networked with during the year. People forget you if you don’t stay in touch, and the holidays are a perfect time to reach out. That simple touch may jog someone’s thought processes and get your resume forwarded to someone who’s hiring. Many job searches stall because people don’t stay in touch with their contacts.
- Improve your targets. You probably will have some extra free time during the holidays, so it’s a perfect opportunity to invest a few hours each week in expanding, defining and refining your targets. Even if everyone else really is too busy to talk to you — and we doubt it, for the record — that shouldn’t stand in the way of your targeting efforts.
- Do more research. The five weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year give you a great opportunity to research more companies and identify more opportunities. Imagine if you send out 10 targeted letters each week, you would have a very busy holiday job search. Or, take the time to research new information sources you’ve possibly shorted or overlooked altogether.
- Don’t procrastinate! Some people will always find a reason to delay their job search, no matter what pressures may be impelling them to action. If it’s not Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s, it will be summer vacation. If you tell yourself, “I’ll get back to my job search on X date,” chances are good that date will come and go with you no closer to a job than you were when you started your hiatus.
- The “holiday card” can work in your favor, too. If you happen to lose your job as the holidays are approaching and you’re negotiating the best possible severance and outplacement deal, send one! Be sure to point out to your department head or HR manager that the holidays are a tough time to be looking for a job, and emphasize your need for outplacement to support your efforts. Remember, you’re just being a good negotiator.
You know better than to sit back buffing your nails during the holidays — your job search will be full steam ahead throughout the season!