Many people don’t realize that the holidays are a fabulous time to ramp up a job search. That’s because a company’s need for new staff doesn’t follow the calendar. The market still grows and the pressure of competition is constant. Sometimes there are budgeted dollars left to be spent. Perhaps most notably, at least 75% of those searching for a job stop searching during the holidays, which means your competition is literally taking a holiday.

This is also the time of year between the end of the fall trade shows and the beginning of the Christmas holidays. There is generally some hiring staff still around the office and they are easy to contact and often eager to find some new staff to take them into the New Year. Don’t forget that this is also a great time of year for networking.

Stick with your program

Hopefully, you have some systems in place to keep your job search moving. Don’t stop using them now. Keep handing out resumes, keep making calls, keep checking those job boards and online job sites. Keep networking. In fact, redouble your efforts.  Really get out there and pound the pavement. There is so much less competition that it will be easier to get interviews and land a job. Make that schedule and stick with it. If can be easy to let yourself slide into the realm of relaxation that signifies the holidays, especially if you don’t have any employment. Be sure to accomplish one new thing each day.

Keep up with your contacts

When it comes to your contacts – well, contact them. You very likely have a lengthy list of contacts that make good prospects for your job search. However, not everyone on your contact list will fit the bill.  It is a good idea to take the time to go through those contacts and determine which ones would be the best ones to get in touch with. Anyone in HR, executive-level people, board members, and anyone else you think would be good at connecting you with the right people. Think of the type of work you are looking for, the type of company for which you want to work, and the skill set you have and focus on those contacts that can potentially connect you with that type of employment.

Wish them happy holidays

You can send an e-card, a quick email, or a message on LinkedIn. Wish those on your contact list good cheer and ask them how things are going. Be sincere. If you are just contacting them to ask about a job, they are going to know and it won’t go over well. During the holiday season people are in the holiday spirit, which also makes this a perfect time of year to reconnect with old acquaintances and professional colleagues that you haven’t seen in a while. You now have an excuse to call them up and invite them for lunch or a holiday party.

Make use of holiday events

Whether you have a list of professional events or personal holiday parties to attend, get out to as many as you can. You never know who you will meet at these gatherings. Even the most obscure family member or old neighbor might have a contact for you that will make all the difference. This is the perfect time of year for networking and networking should make up 80% of your job search efforts. If you know someone at an event who is supremely social, then hang around them. Anyone to whom you are introduced should get a warm handshake and questions about what they do. Get them talking about their job and then you can talk about your line of work and the type of company at which you are looking to find employment. Practice your elevator speech and have business cards to hand out.

Be prepared to wait

As long as you have kept handing out resumes, contacting companies, talking with HR and hiring executives, and have made the connections and talked to the right people, come January you will be able to follow up and get some good results. Job searching during the holiday season, when most job hunters are focused on other things, will only benefit you. Not every lead will help you, but many will and the connections you make might make all the difference.

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